Here's a copy of the text of a letter I sent to Minister Garneau Calling for Immediate Action to Address Evnironmental and Safety Concerns at Sterling Fuels:
February 27th, 2017
WINDSOR ESSEX MPs CALL FOR TAX DEADLINE EXTENSION, WARN OF MASS PHOENIX T4 ISSUES
February 3rd, 2017
MASSE TO TRUDEAU: “SOME COMMUNICATION WOULD BE HELPFUL”
WINDSOR - Brian Masse M.P. (Windsor West) has written the Prime Minister to clarify the full scope of the recent Executive Order limiting travel into the United States from President Trump. In the letter Masse continues to work to impress upon the Trudeau Government the massive impacts of Donald Trump’s Executive Order restricting travel into the United States. Unfortunately, the Trudeau Government seems unable to grasp the full scope of the impacts felt in Canada.
February 1st, 2017
MASSE CALLS ON GOVERNMENT TO CLARIFY CROSS BORDER ACCESS TO MEDICAL CARE
Yesterday during question period Brian Masse M.P. (Windsor West) asked the government if it had secured on-going access to US urgent care medical services for residents in border communities. Several border communities have shared medical services. In the Windsor-Essex region this system is most typically accessed in urgent care situations with patients in ambulatory care.
January 20th, 2017
Brian Masse M.P. Statement on the Inauguration of President Trump
Today was the official swearing in ceremony for President Trump. Canada and the United States’ common interests are defined by issues such as the economy including auto, our shared border infrastructure and the administrative capacity to support a robust trade relationship, as well as environmental stewardship. Our collective and cooperative vigilance to improve the quality of life for all of our citizens will be the measurement of our success.
January 9th, 2017
Brian Masse Statement on NEW Bridge Company Lawsuit
December 1st, 2016
AUDITOR GENERAL REPORT EXPOSES BILLION DOLLAR TRANSPARENCY PROBLEM: MASSE
November 23rd, 2016
MASSE TO FEDS ON AUTO: NO TIME TO WASTE
October 4th, 2016
MASSE DELIVERS SPEECH TO THE CAN/AM BORDER TRADE ALLIANCE IN WASHINGTON D.C.
August 5th, 2016
MASSE CONCERNED BORDER PROJECT LEADERSHIP LOSING FOCUS
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
AUGUST 5TH, 2016
MASSE CONCERNED BORDER PROJECT LEADERSHIP LOSING FOCUS
[WINDSOR] Brian Masse M.P. (Windsor West) expressed deep concerns with the WDBA leadership regarding the progress on the Gordie Howe International Bridge Project. Recently the Interim Chair along with the President and CEO of the Windsor Detroit Bridge Authority held a media conference that outlined some major problems with the project.
June 30th, 2016
O Canada! We Finally Have Our Microbeads Victory
June 16th, 2016
Special Summer Community Festival Guide
2016 Summer Festival Guide
Enclosed you will find a list of many of our community festivals taking place this year. I had created a list a couple of years ago and received such a positive response, that I thought I would create another festival guide for this summer. The festival guide has been mailed across the riding of Windsor West. The list is not a comprehensive list, but includes many of the festivals in our city.
June 15th, 2016
MASSE CALLS ON GOVERNMENT TO ADDRESS CYBER SECURITY AND DIGITAL PRIVACY
May 18th, 2016
KOMAGATA MARU APOLOGY IN THE HOUSE OF COMMONS
OTTAWA – Brian Masse MP Windsor West was pleased to be in the House of Commons chamber today to witness the formal apology in Parliament regarding the Komagata Maru. In 2007, Jack Layton was the first party leader to call for an official apology from the Government of Canada in the House of Commons, while in 2008, then Prime Minister Harper had apologized to the Sikh Community in Surrey, B.C., but many demanded a formal apology in the House of Commons.
April 22nd, 2016
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: Questioning Minister of Transport on Motor Safety and Recalls
Hansard – April 21, 2016
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, after Volkswagen was caught illegally falsifying emission tests and lying about the performance of its vehicles, U.S. regulators, senators, and congress, wasted no time taking it to task. Reports today say the case in the U.S. will be settled with fines, recalls, buybacks, and cash for consumers.
April 18th, 2016
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: TPP Bad for Industry and Jobs
April 18, 2016
Hansard – TPP
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, Canadians are gathering outside today's trade committee meetings in Vancouver, calling for the government to reject the TPP and they are not alone. Industry leaders from manufacturing and high tech have warned that this deal would be bad for Canadian businesses; and Nobel laureate, Joseph Stiglitz, called it the worst trade deal ever. The TPP would cost us 60,000 jobs and increase growing inequality.
April 11th, 2016
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: Questioning the Minister of Environment on OPG's Deep Geologic Repository
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, the Ontario Power Generation wants to dump abandoned radioactive nuclear waste next to the Great Lakes. It cannot say that this waste will not leak, nor has it considered any other options. Burying nuclear waste has a 100% failure rate. Burying the last set of nuclear waste actually caught on fire.
February 25th, 2016
MASSE AND RAMSEY SUPPORT LASALLE REQUEST FOR ENVIRONMENT MINISTER TO INVESTIGATE PROPOSED MARATHON REFINERY EXPANSION
WINDSOR – The State of Michigan is currently considering an application from the Marathon Petroleum Company to expand capacity at their refinery located in Detroit MI in close proximity to the Canada/US border. This proposal if allowed to proceed would increase Sulfur Dioxide emissions from the facility by nearly 40%.
February 25th, 2016
Masse Questions Innovation, Science and Economic Development Minister on Gas Prices
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, Canada's inflation rate rose 2% in January, the highest rate increase in more than two years. Gas prices were the biggest contributor to this raise. Even the Bank of Canada has noted that falling oil prices have not been matched by lower prices at the pump.
February 25th, 2016
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: Brian Masse Speaks on NDP Opposition Day Motion
NDP Opposition Day Motion:
That the House (a) acknowledge that mounting job losses combined with a lack of access to Employment Insurance (EI) contribute to growing income inequality and a situation where too many Canadians are struggling to make ends meet; and (b) call on the government to honour its campaign promises and Throne Speech commitment to strengthen the EI system “to make sure that it best serves both the Canadian economy and all Canadians who need it,” by taking immediate action to: (i) create a universal qualifying threshold of 360 hours for EI, regardless of the regional rate of unemployment, (ii) immediately repeal the harmful reforms of the previous government, including those that force unemployed workers to move away from their communities, take lower-paying jobs and those that eliminated the Extended EI Benefits Pilot program to help seasonal workers, (iii) protect the EI account to ensure that funds are only spent on benefits for Canadians, including training, and never again used to boost the government’s bottom line.
February 17th, 2016
MASSE INTRODUCES SINGLE-EVENT SPORTS BETTING BILL IN PARLIAMENT
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE FEBRUARY 17, 2016
MASSE INTRODUCES SINGLE-EVENT SPORTS BETTING BILL IN PARLIAMENT
OTTAWA – Windsor West MP Brian Masse has reintroduced legislation on single event sports betting known as The Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act, in the House of Commons. Masse is seventh on the Private Members Business list in Parliament and debates will begin on private members legislation in mid-March.
February 17th, 2016
MASSE INTRODUCES SINGLE-EVENT SPORTS BETTING BILL IN PARLIAMENT
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE FEBRUARY 17, 2016
MASSE INTRODUCES SINGLE-EVENT SPORTS BETTING BILL IN PARLIAMENT
OTTAWA – Windsor West MP Brian Masse has reintroduced legislation on single event sports betting known as The Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act, in the House of Commons. Masse is seventh on the Private Members Business list in Parliament and debates will begin on private members legislation in mid-March.
February 8th, 2016
MASSE TO HOST FAMILY DAY SKATE
WINDSOR – Brian Masse MP (Windsor West) will host a Family Day SKATE & DONATE at the Lanspeary Park ice rink for a free Family Skate on Family Day. Last year Masse held a similar event for the first time, where we encouraged a food drive and were able to send a small truck full of non perishable food items to a local shelter.
February 8th, 2016
MASSE OP-ED: Innovation key to moving Canada forward for long-term stability
Published | Publié: 2016-02-08Received | Reçu: 2016-02-08 6:04 AM Hill Times
Innovation key to moving Canada forward for long-term stability
Will the new government rise to the challenge and act quickly to strengthen Canadian innovation? Or will they continue to oversee the sell-off of Canadian champions of innovation to foreign interest and the stagnation of business investment in R&D?
February 3rd, 2016
MASSE STATEMENT ON CITY OF DETROIT DENIAL OF PETCOKE STORAGE APPLICATION
I would like to congratulate the City of Detroit for making a wise decision to protect our air and water by denying an application to allow harmful petcoke to be stored on the waterfront. This decision acknowledges the human connection to the environment and places the well being and quality of life for people on both sides of the Canada-United States border at the forefront of the governing process.
January 28th, 2016
MASSE PITCHES SHORT LISTED CONSORTIUMS FOR NEW CROSSING ON BIKE LANES
January 20th, 2016
LOCAL NEW DEMOCRATS TO READY TO PUSH LOCAL AGENDA AND HOLD GOVERNMENT TO ACCOUNT
July 10th, 2015
MASSE REMEMBERS SREBRENICA ON THE 20thANNIVERSARY OF THE GENOCIDE
Windsor, ON – Today Brian Masse M.P. remembered the more than 8000 victims of the Srebrenica Genocide that took place in Bosnia between 1992 and 1995. One of the darkest chapters in recent European history, Masse also remembers the survivors of this genocide, including the families and Mothers of Srebrenica, who shared their personal memories with him personally in Bosnia.
June 18th, 2015
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: Masse Questions Minister on Tourism Funding
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives are neglecting key sectors of our economy, such as the tourism industry, which employs 600,000 people across the country. Because of this lack of leadership, Canada has fallen from 7th to 16th in the number of international visitors arriving here. This is hurting our regions and border towns that rely on tourism to support their local economies.
June 16th, 2015
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: Congrats Windsor Lancers!
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, it is with the pride of the Lancer Nation that I rise today in the House to acknowledge the University of Windsor women's basketball and men's track and field team. Both recently won their respective national championships in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport.
June 10th, 2015
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: Debate on Main Estimates – SENATE
Hansard – Debate on Main Estimates – SENATE
June 8, 2015
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP):
Mr. Speaker, I would simply like to ask the parliamentary secretary about a bill that was passed here three years ago in the House of Commons, Bill C-290, the single sports betting bill. It would delete one sentence in the Criminal Code and would allow provinces to, if they wanted to, negotiate to have single sports betting.
May 28th, 2015
MASSE IN THE HOUSE on the Deep Geologic Repository Issue
House of Commons
May 27, 2015
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I am not happy to rise here today to talk about an issue that I think is very important, not only for just Canada, but also for the world, with respect to the treatment of clean drinking water and the protection of our environment.
May 25th, 2015
NDP MPs MASSE AND LESLIE URGE GOVERNMENT TO MOVE ON MICROBEADS
[OTTAWA] Brian Masse NDP MP (Windsor West) and Official Opposition Critic for the Great Lakes and Meagan Leslie NDP MP (Halifax) and Official Opposition Critic for the Environment are calling on the Harper government to live up to their commitment to act to address the microbead crisis. Several weeks after unanimously passing an NDP motion in the House of Commons to address the environmental impact of microbeads the Harper Government refuses to take any action to address this crisis whatsoever. The NDP motion passed the House with all party support and offers specific, immediate and proscriptive measures to proceed.
May 12th, 2015
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: On Veterans Affairs
May 11, 2015
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP):
Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to speak here today to a very important motion. The first thing I want to address is the rhetoric that has come across from that stream over there. I listened today very intently to what the members said and what they projected back on us, saying that the NDP is not supportive and is actually anti-military in terms of how we approach things.
May 7th, 2015
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: Masse Questions Minister on Proposed Storage of Nuclear Waste Plan
Hansard - May 7, 2015
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, the plan to bury radioactive waste in southern Ontario right next to the Great Lakes is now in the hands of the Minister of the Environment. Communities on both sides of the international border, representing millions of people, have expressed serious concerns with the process. They are worried about the potential impact of radiation and the Great Lakes together side by side. No other alternatives were even considered. Many people feel they were not adequately consulted, including municipalities and the U.S. Congress.
April 23rd, 2015
MASSE SUBMITS LETTER TO TRANPORT CANADA OPPOSING AMBASSADOR BRIDGE TWINNING PROPOSAL
[OTTAWA] Brian Masse NDP M.P. (Windsor West) and Official Opposition Critic for the Canada-US Border has submitted a letter to Transport Canada expressing his opposition to the Detroit International Bridge Company’s (DIBC) proposed Ambassador Bridge Enhancement Project (ABEP). Transport Canada is accepting feedback from the public on the ABEP proposal until Monday April 27th.
April 23rd, 2015
MASSE TO ACKNOWLEDGE PASSING OF INSPIRATIONAL TEACHER IN HOUSE OF COMMONS
April 22nd, 2015
MASSE DELIVERS PETITIONS CALLING FOR A DEDICATED PEDESTRIAN BIKE LANE ON NEW DRIC BRIDGE
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, my second set of petitions are for the creation of an international bike and pedestrian lane on the new crossing between Windsor and Detroit. The petitioners request this to be part of the project so that we can increase ecotourism, have stronger cultural, economic and development connections with the City of Detroit, and be able to access the system in the United States as well as on the Canadian side.
April 22nd, 2015
MASSE DELIVERS PETITIONS OPPOSED TO OPG's PROPOSED DEEP GEOLOGIC REPOSITORY
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions to present. The first petition is from hundreds of citizens who are concerned about Ontario Power Generation's proposal to construct a deep geological repository on Lake Huron by the Great Lakes. This affects an estimated 40 million Canadians and Americans, and will cost $7 billion. The petitioners are calling for a more robust review process because the proposal would put radioactive nuclear waste next to our freshwater supply as well as a commercial artery that is important to our country.
April 20th, 2015
MASSE DELIVERS FORD PETITIONS IN PARLIAMENT
OTTAWA, ON – Brian Masse M.P. (Windsor West) delivered the local Ford petitions created by Jessica John and Heather MacDonald-Ellis today in the House of Commons. Signed by thousands of local Ford workers, the petitions call on the Government of Canada to develop a National Automotive Strategy and to review current policy to attract investment in the auto sector in order to maintain and increase jobs in automotive manufacturing. John and MacDonald-Ellis were in the public galleries this afternoon.
March 24th, 2015
NDP SCORES A VICTORY FOR OUR OCEANS, LAKES AND RIVERS
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 24, 2015
NDP SCORES A VICTORY FOR OUR OCEANS, LAKES AND RIVERS
NDP Environment critic Megan Leslie (Halifax) and NDP Great Lakes critic Brian Masse (Windsor West) made the following statement on the support of their motion to protect Canada’s lakes and rivers from microbead pollution:
March 11th, 2015
MASSE INTRODUCES LEGISLATION THAT PROMISES TAX RELIEF FOR MICROBREWERIES
March 9th, 2015
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: C-46 An Act to amend the National Energy Board Act and the Canada Oil and Gas Operations Act
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today on this important bill to have the polluter pays principle apply to some of the government's legislation, which has been long sought after in this chamber. Therefore, Bill C-46, an act to amend the National Energy Board Act and the Canada Oil and Gas Operations Act, will be receiving our support to send it to committee.
February 10th, 2015
NDP Opposition Letter to Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission
Attention: Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC)
Subject: HEUNL Technical Assessment
February 10, 2015
We are writing today with a sense of urgency and requesting that CNSC reject Atomic Energy Canada Limited (AECL) plan to truck 23,000 litres of extremely radioactive liquid waste (containing highly-enriched uranium) from its Ontario Chalk River facility to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site in South Carolina.
February 5th, 2015
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: Questions the Minister of Industry About a Plan for Small Businesses
February 5th, 2015
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: NDP Opposition Day Motion
February 4th, 2015
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: Questioning Harper Government on Bad Border Deal
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, as a city councillor and MP, I have been advocating for a new border crossing for the Windsor-Detroit corridor. This is crucial for the economy and prosperity for both Canada and the united States, but the current government has negotiated such a poor deal, Canada has to front nearly $1 billion and pay for both countries. Despite a U.S. federal budget of roughly $3.5 trillion, the Conservatives could not even get the United States to pay for their own customs plaza, leaving it all up to Canadians.
February 2nd, 2015
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: Statement on Groundhog Day!
January 29th, 2015
MASSE IN THE NEWS: INTERVIEW ON TSN ON BILL C-290
SOURCE: TSN RADIO (Montreal) PROGRAM: MELNICK DATE: JANUARY 23, 2015 TIME: 15:35 LENGTH: 10 MINUTES BRIAN MASSE, NDP MP ON SPORTS GAMBLING BILL C-290 MITCH MELNICK (Host): Brian Masse. Welcome. How are you? BRIAN MASSE (NDP MP): Good, thank you. Thanks for having me. MELNICK: Oh, it’s, it’s my pleasure. Right out of the gate, I don’t gamble on anything. I’m not a gambler. However, I don’t think you can legislate behaviour. MASSE: Yeah. MELNICK: I think there’s, there’s too much at stake here. The hypocrisy is at a height that is hard to believe here. So, for those who aren’t aware of what you’re attempting to do, can you fill in some blanks to begin with? MASSE: Yeah. I’ll give a brief overview of what’s taken place. Back in 2011, Joe Comartin, my colleague from Windsor-Tecumseh, introduced a bill in the House of Commons that eliminated one line of the Criminal Code that prevents us from having single sports betting in Canada. So, that would take it out of the Criminal Code. So, what would happen is that if this bill passed, provinces could sit down with the industry and their own selves and decide if they want to have single sports betting in Canada. What’s happening right now is that the activity is taking place. Organized crime is benefiting quite significantly, and offshore betting accounts are benefiting significantly, and the activity continues to take place. So, this brings to light the issue and would allow a responsible gaming option to be developed if a province should choose they want to do so. And unfortunately, it’s now been held up for three years in the Senate as there was a campaign against the bill that has blocked it from passing right now. We’re hoping we’re going to pass that in the upcoming House of Commons, sorry, in the house sitting with the Senate. And you know, we believe that’s a problem too. I mean, the democratically-elected people of Canada decided to vote for this bill and it passed with what’s called a voice vote because there was no opposition to it from passing. And then later on some members did do a smear campaign and then the NHL and a few others who are pushing against it, and so it’s been stalled. But we’re hopeful and that’s why I wrote Commissioner Bettman about this issue, because most recently the NHL, we drew the hypocrisy of them signing a deal that allows sports betting on their, actually, website, and as well too they’re talking about, you know, a franchise in Vegas. MELNICK: Yeah, but that’s not to gamble Brian. They’re not going to gamble if they put a team in Vegas (laughs). First of all, you say a smear campaign. In what way has it been a smear campaign? MASSE: Well, there was, there was those that argued that it hadn’t gone through a proper process in the House of Commons. But the reality is it did. It passed. And so, there was a misdirection and a lobby that members didn’t want to basically show up on a Friday to force a recorded vote and it passed unanimously. And that’s the normal process in the House of Commons. But two people that, a couple of Conservatives in particular, Michael Chong in particular, they didn’t want to show up to work on Friday. And you have to have five people that would actually want a recorded vote, stand up, and it passed because those people didn’t bother to show up to work that day. MELNICK: Well, that sounds like your cue, Rod. ROD (Unidentified): Yeah. I should mention Brian, I am a member of the Conservatives. But I mean, I totally agree with the principle of this bill. People are going to gamble anyway. And in this current climate when provinces are running deficits almost across the country, they need this money that’s, as you say, right now benefiting the grey market, the black market, and online gambling sites, most of whom don’t pay taxes in this country. MASSE: Yeah, absolutely. I couldn’t agree more. And the evidence was there. It was presented. It went to the Senate where I actually presented in front of the Senate. And Rob Nicholson actually as well too tried to move some of his colleagues. But that’s where it sits right now. And I have a real problem with the, you know, an un-elected Senate holding up a bill that’s democratically passed. And you know, every single day, especially with the Super Bowl coming up, as a great example was last year. They, they, the law enforcement sting that they had captured 2.4 million dollars on Super Bowl day just in the Toronto area alone. MELNICK: This, this background that you were giving us, the black market and etcetera, sounds a lot like the marijuana debate, doesn’t it? MASSE: It is to some degree. But at the same time, this one also is, you know, a matter of choice for the provinces too. I mean, this just opens the possibility in the conversations for the actual choice to be made. And you know, to me I just, I don’t understand how, you know, it’s okay to bet on three games in Ontario, four games, five games, but it’s not okay to bet on two or one. I don’t, I fail to see the logic. ROD: Yeah, that’s exactly how it works here in Quebec as well. You can go to the depanneur, go a Loto-Quebec outlet and you need to hit three games to win. But you can’t bet on a single game. It doesn’t make any sense. If, assume, let’s hope that this gets through the Senate eventually and it’s got to happen soon, right, because with an election possibly in October, would that kill the status of your bill? MASSE: Yes it would. It would kill the bill. And that’s unfortunate. We’ve had it kept alive basically procedurally. I think the votes are getting there. I’ve been working as hard as I can to get them and we are making some progress. But again, if this doesn’t get passed and doesn’t get to the Prime Minister to be signed off on--and I don’t understand why he’s not making a push for this to get done--then it would have to start all over in another parliament and good luck with that, because we wouldn’t even know what the landscape would be after that and it would be even more members of Parliament. Another private member’s bill would have to come up. And that’s the really important factor, is this is a private member’s legislation. I would be just as happy too if the government decided to steal it. (Laughter) MELNICK: Good for you. NDP MP Brian Masse in Windsor. I want to read you one paragraph from the NHL and their explanation why they oppose this. “The NHL provides family entertainment and the league has worked tirelessly to earn and maintain a reputation for the absolute integrity of its competition for its fans. Government-sponsored and or regulated single-game sports gambling threatens to compromise the reputation and integrity of the NHL’s product and could seriously undermine our fans’ trust and confidence in honest competition. The widespread, illegal availability of gambling on single-game results will inevitably lead to concerns and possibly the widespread perception that NHL games are not completely legitimate, including allegations asserting the possibility of point-shaving activities and the manipulation of player injury and participation practices. Making single-game sports gambling a widespread, legitimized institution will portray an image to our fans, including the youth, that gambling and sports are not only an accepted combination, but a natural one, so that if they enjoy sports, they will also enjoy gambling.” What’s wrong with that position? MASSE: Well, it’s totally hypocrisy. You go onto the NHL site and you’ve got DraftKings. They just signed a deal with it and were bragging about it. And so, you can bet on that system there. Fantasy Sports, they target that for prizes, and that’s a game of chance as well too. And they actually target some of the youth for that. I mean, I just can’t believe that you can put your head in the sand on this issue. One of the best quotes we had from the testimony was from the former provincial police deputy, who said, “We believe that it,” being single-event sports wagering, “would be good for the Canadian public, good for the Canadian gaming industry and bad for organized crime.” And that’s just the reality, is that it’s taking place and the NHL is a participant of actually making a product that has games of chance involved in their product. They just don’t like the fact probably they don’t get a cut out of this. I don’t know what the problem is. ROD: So, do you see fears down the road of a situation where a fan will attend a game and buy a hotdog and a beer and buy a ticket at the game? Like, do you see that happening? MELNICK: You could do that in Europe, right? ROD: Yes. MELNICK: In a lot of events. ROD: Absolutely. MASSE: Yeah. I mean, that’ll be up to the provinces to decide and they can sit down with the industry and have a, you know, a mature conversation about what types of products to bring in and how to bring them in. And you know, and if there was going to be an integrity issue about it, the province could immediately address those issues right away. And let’s be frank here, is that we have had, and there will continue to be, with whatever system you have in place, some gaming issues that will have to be taken up because people won’t do the right thing. And so, it’s just, again, it puts more accountability… And think about this, I mean, the money that would go to our health care, education, gaming addictions, you know, do you think the people that own these offshore betting accounts and organized crime, they’re not making contributions to gaming addiction. I mean, it’s just, it’s just unbelievable that we’re passing up this opportunity. And again, it just gives choice, a choice and they can develop the product that they think they can bring to market. MELNICK: And I should also point out if fans listening are not aware, the commissioner of the National Basketball Association, Adam Silver, has come out in favour of this. In fact, he wrote an op-ed piece for the New York Times in favour of this concept. MASSE: That is correct. And another interesting move that’s taken place most recently too is Governor Christie of New Jersey has told the casinos to move ahead on this. I mean, he’s been taking this on as well. And so, what’s going to happen, what’s also at stake here, and I’ve seen this happen in Windsor and it’ll happen to other border towns as well too that have casino industries. And again, I’m not even a sports better. I’m terrible at it. So I gave it up a long time ago, but we have the possibility of the US cascading and opening up more single-sports betting states like Vegas, because New Jersey is moving towards it, and then we will lose out on that market. I have people that write me from Ohio that want to come to Windsor to, for March Madness to bet on games, but they want single sports betting. And it’s a huge tourism element. And so, it’s not only just the people coming in, it’ll also be the fact that we have all these billions of dollars of infrastructure that become basically white elephants. MELNICK: Tunnel to Detroit all clear? MASSE: Yeah. Well, I mean, these are the things we’ve been facing, eh, when you think about it, like with the passports and the dollar. Thank goodness for us here it’s dropping. So, that helps manufacturing. You have the auto show going on there too. So, it helps us there too. MELNICK: Thank you very much Mr. Masse, Windsor MP from the NDP, Brian Masse, trying to get C-290 passed and into law. All the best with this. MASSE: Thank you gentlemen. MELNICK: Thank you.
January 23rd, 2015
MASSE SHOCKED: TRUDEAU HAPPY TO SEE C-290 CONTINUE TO LANGUISH IN SENATE
[WINDSOR] Brian Masse M.P. (Windsor West) is shocked after Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau made public comments in a recorded interview expressing his satisfaction with Senators continuing to allow Bill C-290 to languish in the Senate for nearly 3 years. Over this time the Bill has been the subject of several Committee meetings where nearly 2 dozen witnesses have had the opportunity to testify; almost 30 briefs have been submitted from a wide array of stakeholders and there have been numerous speeches in both Houses.
January 9th, 2015
MASSE ASKS NHL TO RECONSIDER POSITION ON C-290
[WINDSOR] Brian Masse M.P. (Windsor West) has written the National Hockey League (NHL) asking Commissioner Gary Bettman to reconsider the League’s position on the NDP Private Member’s Bill C-290 An Act to Amend the Criminal Code (Sports Betting). In 2013 when the Bill was being considered in the Senate’s Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs the NHL submitted a brief outlining their opposition to the proposed legislation.
December 9th, 2014
MASSE CONFIRMS NEW INVASIVE CARPS REGULATIONS INCLUDE EVISCERATION
[OTTAWA] Last week the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) brought forward new regulations aimed at mitigating the presence of Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) in Canada. These regulations come months after NDP Critic for the Great Lakes Brian Masse MP (Windsor West) launched a campaign to address the threat of infestation from Invasive Carps. In October Masse tabled a Private Members Bill C-629 An Act to Amend the Fisheries Act (Invasive Carp) that would have dramatically reduced this threat from the land border crossing vector, identified by DFO as a significant vulnerability.
December 5th, 2014
MASSE DECLARES POSSIBLE VICTORY AS GOVERNMENT BRINGS NEW REGULATIONS TO ADDRESS AQUATIC INVASIVE SPECIES
Will Scrutinize To Ensure Measures Are Strong Enough
[WINDSOR] Brian Masse MP (Windsor West) and NDP Critic for the Great Lakes is declaring victory today after Gail Shea Minister of Fisheries and Oceans announced new regulations to address Aquatic Invasive Species. On October 1st Mr. Masse tabled a bill in the House of Commons that appears to include several of the same measures found in the new regulations including increasing fines and extending enforcement powers to CBSA Officers.
December 2nd, 2014
MASSE STATEMENT ON AUTO STRATEGY
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, since I was first elected in 2002, I have repeatedly called for the government to develop a national automotive strategy. In 2003, the Canadian Automotive Partnership Council released a report calling on the federal government to protect the industry and create a policy. Promise after promise, including from the former Conservative industry minister, fell by the wayside.
November 27th, 2014
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: Speaking on Bill C-27, Hiring Veterans
41st PARLIAMENT, 2nd SESSION
Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Veterans Hiring Act
The House resumed from November 17 consideration of the motion that Bill C-27, An Act to amend the Public Service Employment Act (enhancing hiring opportunities for certain serving and former members of the Canadian Forces), be read the third time and passed.
October 28th, 2014
MASSE QUESTIONS THE MINISTER OF INDUSTRY ON FAILED FORD INVESTMENT
October 21st, 2014
MASSE CONGRATULATES WINDSOR POLICE CONSTABLES ROGAN AND SASSO FOR THEIR MEDALS OF BRAVERY
October 17th, 2014
MASSE & CUPE Local 82 PARTICIPATE IN CHARITY TREE REMOVAL
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 17, 2014
MASSE PARTICIPATES IN CHARITY TREE REMOVAL
WINDSOR – Brian Masse MP (Windsor West) along with volunteers from CUPE Local 82, Arborist-Gaeton Taillon, Forestry Assistants - Bill Synnott, Pat Heney and Chet Salisbury, President Rob Kolody and Community Awareness Stward Leilani Logronio will remove a dead cherry tree from Masse’s property for charity tomorrow morning.
October 9th, 2014
MASSE QUESTIONS THE MINISTER OF PUBLIC SAFETY ON BORDER SECURITY
October 6th, 2014
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: M-502, Trent-Severn Waterway Deepening & Straightening
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: M-502, Trent-Severn Waterway Deepening & Straightening
October 6, 2014
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise to speak on Motion No. 502, the motion put together by the member for Simcoe North. I can say I shared an office floor with the member and know how hard he works and the diligence of his work. I praise him for actually bringing an issue before us that includes the Great Lakes. As critic for the Great Lakes for the NDP and Canada-U.S. border relations, I can tell members that the Great Lakes are going to frame much of our relationship with the United States for the next 10 years. Whether it be on fresh water, whether it be on invasive species, whether it be pollution, there will be a lot of discourse, and there has been, and I will highlight some of that in my speech.
July 30th, 2014
MASSE ANNOUNCES TABLING OF INVASIVE CARP BILL IN FALL SESSION
JULY 30, 2014
MASSE ANNOUNCES TABLING OF INVASIVE CARP BILL IN FALL SESSION
[SARNIA] Brian Masse M.P. (Windsor West) will announce the tabling of a Private Member’s Bill in the fall session that will mitigate the threat of Invasive Carp infestation in the Great Lakes and inland bodies of water across Canada.
June 11th, 2014
Plastic in our water? Masse calls on the IJC to investigate
OTTAWA ON-Brian Masse, NDP MP for Windsor West and Official Opposition Critic for the Great Lakes launched the latest in his efforts to keep our lakes great by calling for the International Joint Commission (IJC) to investigate and provide potential solutions to the levels of micro plastics in the basin.
April 9th, 2014
BOARD DISMISSES PETCOKE APPEAL: WATERFRONT REMAINS PROTECTED
The City of Detroit’s Board of Zoning Appeals (The Board) dismissed an appeal from Detroit Bulk Storage—the company that was storing massive piles of petroleum coke on the Detroit River waterfront last year. The original decision from the City’s Building Safety Engineering and Environmental Department (BSEED) denied an application from the company to store petroleum coke at a site on the Detroit side of our waterfront. The Board found that the applicants did not have standing to bring this issue before them since they were not the owners of the property.
April 1st, 2014
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: QUESTIONS TRANSPORT MINISTER ON DRIC FUNDING PROBLEMS
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, since signing the crossing agreement, the new Windsor-Detroit bridge project, often referred to as Canada's top infrastructure priority, has been utterly mismanaged by the Conservative government. The latest problem is the U.S. government is refusing to say who will pay the $250 million needed for the U.S. customs plaza.
April 1st, 2014
DRIC QUESTIONS NEED ANSWERS
[WINDSOR] The NDP Critic for the Canada-US Border Brian Masse has written Transport Minister Lisa Raitt urging the government to refocus on a project they have consistently referred to as “Canada’s top infrastructure priority”, the Detroit River International Crossing project (DRIC). The project has faced several setbacks including labour strife, non construction code compliance, lack of effective oversight and subcontractors refusing to pay local suppliers. Recently the question of who will finance the U.S. Customs plaza has emerged.
March 27th, 2014
Masse Speaking Out on the State of the Paul Martin Sr. Building
March 26th, 2014
Masse in the House on Bill C-22
Brian Masse- Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to follow my colleague, who gave some outstanding reasons as to why we have concerns about Bill C-22, An Act respecting Canada's offshore oil and gas operations, enacting the Nuclear Liability and Compensation Act, repealing the Nuclear Liability Act and making consequential amendments to other Acts. I will be focusing on some of the nuclear aspects of this legislation, but I will include some of the offshore issues as well.
March 4th, 2014
BRIAN MASSE MP Statement on Regional Implications of Today's US Federal Budget
February 6th, 2014
MASSE STANDING UP FOR VETERANS
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I have the honour of presenting petitions from over 500 constituents opposing the closure of the Windsor-Essex County veterans office. They are signed by Afghan, World War II and Korean veterans and peacekeepers, who are calling upon the government to reverse this decision.
February 4th, 2014
MASSE ACKNOWLEDGES BLACK HISTORY MONTH IN THE HOUSE OF COMMONS
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, February marks the beginning of Black History Month in Canada. The City of Windsor has played an important role facilitating the underground railroad, which served as a gateway to freedom for many escaped slaves seeking refuge from the United States. The underground railroad helped tens of thousands of escapees find freedom in Canada, enriching cities such as Windsor for generations to come.
January 30th, 2014
Masse in the House on the Closure of the Veterans Affairs Office
Brian Masse MP Windsor West: Mr. Speaker, in my community people are outraged at the minister's disrespect for veterans and his insistence to close our local veterans office. These closures are going to hurt veterans in Windsor and Essex County, plain and simple. The people who fought to defend Canada should not have to fight again for the services they earned when they came home. Will the minister apologize to veterans in Essex County and Windsor and keep our office open? What will it take for him to do the right thing?
October 28th, 2013
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: Masse Pressures the Government to Legalize Single Sports Betting
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I rise today on the issue of Bill C-290, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (sports betting), passed in this chamber and now sitting in the Senate for more than 18 months. There should be no controversy on passing Bill C-290, as it went through the House of Commons without a single dissenting voice.
October 28th, 2013
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: Pushing for Enhancement of Canadian Auto Sector
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, in my area we are witnessing a return to investing in the auto industry. The government did not want to do that at the beginning and it was brought kicking and screaming to the table. However, there has been a rebound of some degree. The reality is that our auto industry has not picked up like that in the United States and other countries where the industry is growing. Our industry is recovering but not to the same degree as that in America.
October 10th, 2013
Water Quality and Viability of Great Lakes Suffers at Hands of Conservative Incompetence: Stakeholders Speak Out
WINDSOR--Brian Masse MP Windsor West and NDP Great Lakes Critic is raising concerns about the continuing delays in negotiations over a new Canada- Ontario Agreement (COA) with respect to the Great Lakes, despite the last agreement (signed in 2007) expiring more than a year ago. The COA is a cost sharing agreement and is essential for Canada to meet its bi-national commitments with the US, which includes priorities for the protection and restoration of the Great Lakes. The most recent of these bi-national agreements is the Great Lakes Water Quality Protocol 2012, and includes timelines for deliverables outlined in the document.
September 26th, 2013
COMMUNITY PARTNERS LAUNCH HEALTH INITIATIVE FOR
WINDSOR, ON – Brian Masse MP (Windsor West) along with local Veterans and community partners from business and labour including UNIFOR and Booster Juice joined Albert Mady owner of Mady’s Isshinryu Chikara Dojo in a joint effort to launch local community health initiative for Canadian Veterans who served in Afghanistan.
September 11th, 2013
NDP Roll Out Fall Strategy in Saskatoon
Saskatoon—Brian Masse MP (Windsor West) and his NDP colleagues met at a caucus retreat in Saskatoon this week to discuss a fall strategy centred on building strong policy and bringing accountability back into the realm of politics, while the Conservatives are content to prorogue Parliament for the fourth time.
August 15th, 2013
Masse Leads Canadian Delegation at the National Conference of State Legislators
[Atlanta, Georgia]— Brian Masse MP Windsor West spent the week leading an all-party Canadian Delegation at the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) in Atlanta, Georgia. Masse recently returned from the Council of Western State Governments in Las Vegas earlier this month and is now attending the NCSL in his role as Vice Chair of the Canada-US Inter-Parliamentary group– a position he’s held since 2006.
August 13th, 2013
Brian Masse M.P. letter to Hon. Lisa Raitt Minister of Tranport on Ambassador Bridge toll increases
Hon. Lisa Raitt
Minister of Transport
House of Commons
Dear Minister Raitt,
The owners of the Detroit International Bridge Co. have elected to increase the tolls on their crossing. This 5 percent fare increase on international travelers utilizing the Ambassador Bridge is essentially an additional border tax that will take money out of the pockets of travelers, commuters and businesses. It will apply to automobiles, passenger vehicles, station wagons, personal vans and empty pickups from $4.75/crossing to $5.00/crossing effective August 15th.
August 12th, 2013
Masse Doubles Down on C290 at CWG West Conference
[Las Vegas, Nevada] – After returning from The Council of State Governments-West (CSG) conference in Las Vegas last week, Brian Masse M.P. Windsor West is more convinced than ever to bet on the opportunities that will be created for Windsor if his private members bill seeking to legalize single sports betting in Canada passes through the Senate this fall.
August 1st, 2013
NDP Pressures Government to Make Life More Affordable
July 26th, 2013
NATYSHAK AND MASSE WRITE TRANSPORT MINISTER ON GIRDER FAILURE
[WINDSOR, ON] Amid revelations that hundreds of non-code compliant girders were installed on the Rt. Hon. Herb Gray Parkway; Brian Masse M.P. (Windsor West) and Taras Natyshak M.P.P. (Essex) have written a joint letter to Ontario’s Transportation Minister Glen Murray seeking answers to questions raised by this issue. It has additionally come to light that both the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) and the Minister himself allowed the installation of non-compliant girders to proceed with full knowledge that they did not meet code requirements.
July 19th, 2013
BRIAN MASSE M.P. STATEMENT REGARDING THE CITY OF DETROIT FILING FOR BANKRUPTCY
July 12th, 2013
MASSE URGES FEDERAL TRANSPORT MINISTER TO CONSIDER CONTRACTOR PROPOSAL FOR EXCESS FILL ON BRIDGE PLAZA AND USE SAVINGS TO ACQUIRE OJIBWAY SHORES
Implementing Proposal Could Resolve Several Issues All at Once
[WINDSOR] For weeks Brian Masse M.P. (Windsor West) NDP Critic for the Canada-US Border has been working towards brokering a deal that could solve the excess fill issue from the construction of the Herb Gray Parkway. In addition, the potential savings incurred by implementing this solution could provide the Federal government with the funds necessary to purchase the Ojibway Shores property from the Windsor Port Authority.
June 18th, 2013
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: Questions on the Blue Water Bridge Report by Public Sector Integrity Commissioner
Hansard, June 18, 2013
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, at Blue Water Bridge Canada, former managers were paid over $650,000 in severance and the CEO who approved this move was reappointed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs. The Integrity Commissioner found this affair to be “...gross mismanagement of public funds and breach of the code of conduct”. Now we learn the people who blew the whistle have been fired.
June 6th, 2013
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: Delivering Petitions on Petcoke and Closure of the Olde Sandwich Towne Post Office
June 4th, 2013
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: Speaking on Budget Bill C-60 and Border Concerns
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to speak on Bill C-60 here today. I know that you have been in the House a number of times when I had a chance to talk about the border, and you will hear more about that as the previous member did mention what is taking place on the Windsor-Detroit corridor with a new public border crossing being created.
May 30th, 2013
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: Masse questions Minister on C-290, Still Stuck in the Senate
May 27th, 2013
MASSE LETTER TO MDOT CONDEMNING RECOMMENDATION TO ALLOW HAZMAT FREIGHT ON AMBASSADOR BRIDGE
May 23rd, 2013
C-290 TO GET BROAD STAKEHOLDER PUSH
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MAY 22, 2013
C-290 TO GET BROAD STAKEHOLDER PUSH
Speakers Panel Announced
OTTAWA– A panel of speakers assembled to discuss Bill C290 will include Mayor of Niagara Falls Jim Diodati, CEO of Sports Direct Paul Lavers, President of Windsor Chamber of Commerce Matt Marchand and former Ontario Provincial Police Deputy Commissioner Gerry Boose.
April 22nd, 2013
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: Brian Masse Questions the Government on their Actions on the Proposed DHS Border Fees
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): The problem, Mr. Speaker, is Conservatives are preoccupied and obsessed with shipping 40,000 jobs to the U.S. down the Keystone pipeline at the expense of everything else in Washington. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce president said that making the borders thicker is exactly the wrong way to go and the Conservative government already set the example by setting the stage for cuts from the U.S.
April 12th, 2013
BRIAN MASSE STATEMENT ON PRESIDENTIAL PERMIT:
With the issuing of the Presidential Permit for the new public crossing connecting Windsor-Detroit we have cleared an important hurdle in the process to add meaningful and necessary border capacity through our region. This is a significant next step and I am happy to see this project moving forward.
April 12th, 2013
MASSE MEETS SCOTISH TRANPORT TO DISCUSS PUBLIC NAMIN PROCESS FOR NEW CROSSING
Scottish Government Developed Process That ‘Captured the Imagination’ Of the Public
[WINDSOR] Brian Masse MP (Windsor West) Official Opposition Critic for the Canada/US Border recently met with Scottish Transport Minister Keith Brown to discuss the public naming process developed by his government for the new Forth replacement crossing. The Scottish Government is currently constructing a new bridge over the Forth River billed by the Scottish Government as “the biggest single infrastructure project in Scotland for a generation.”
March 27th, 2013
MASSE QUESTIONS MINISTER ON CANADA POST DECISION TO CLOSE SANDWICH TOWNE POST OFFICE
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, crown corporations under the government are in a stranglehold, they are not at arm's-length from the government. After serving the community for 100 years, Canada Post announced the closing of the Sandwich Towne Post Office, a disrespectful move considering the community has offered to work with Canada Post to find a solution. But to the tin ear of the Ottawa Conservatives, the community concerns simply go unnoticed.
March 26th, 2013
CANADA POST ABANDONS SANDWICH TOWNE AFTER 100 YEARS OF SERVICE
Historic Building to Be Sold on the Open Market
[WINDSOR ON] After serving the community for over 100 years Canada Post has announced that it is closing the Sandwich Towne Post Office permanently effective April 26th. Canada Post has been threatening to close the facility since 2011 despite the community rallying on several occasions to show support for maintaining service out that facility as well as hundreds of signatures on petitions and messages sent to Canada Post and the Minister.
March 7th, 2013
MASSE URGES MINISTER TO TAKE IMMEDIATE ACTION ON MASSIVE DETROIT RIVER PETCOKE PILE
Massive Piles of Dangerous Material Uncontained Near Water Supply
[WINDSOR] Brian Masse NDP MP (Windsor West) Critic for the Canada/US border is urging Environment Minister Peter Kent to take immediate action to mitigate any potential environmental impacts to the Detroit River. Recently massive piles of petroleum coke have appeared on Detroit’s waterfront, experts indicate that the impact could be significant.
March 6th, 2013
NDP QUESTIONS MINISTER ON US SEQUESTRATION EFFECTS ON CANADA AND THE BORDER
Ms. Rosane Doré Lefebvre (Alfred-Pellan, NDP):
Mr. Speaker, March break is approaching and many Canadians plan to take advantage of the opportunity to travel. However, the United States have hit a budgetary wall and announced close to $85 billion in cuts. Border services will be the first to be affected, which will increase wait times at the border and in airports.
February 15th, 2013
MASSE PRESENTS DIAMOND JUBILEE MEDAL TO DR. BARRY ADAM SOCIOLOGY PROFESSOR AT THE UNIVERSITY OF WINDSOR FOR HIS RESEARCH ON HIV AND AIDS
WINDSOR –Brian Masse M.P. (Windsor West) presents medal to leading HIV researcher Dr. Adam at a gathering at the University of Windsor. A professor at UWindsor since 1976, Adam has been researching HIV and AIDS since it first started appearing in the early 1980s. As a founding member of the AIDS Committee of Windsor in 1985 he had a long track record of community work before turning it into a scholarly pursuit. Last year Dr. Adam was recognized for his longstanding legacy of accomplishment in the battle against AIDS.
January 30th, 2013
NDP CONDEMNS CLOSURE OF CANADIAN CONSULATE IN DETROIT
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JANUARY 29, 2013
NDP CONDEMNS CLOSURE OF CANADIAN CONSULATE IN DETROIT
Short-sighted Decision Will Mean Service Reductions
[WINDSOR, ON] Brian Masse MP (Windsor West) and NDP Critic for the Canada/US border is condemning a Citizenship and Immigration decision to close the Canadian Consulates in Detroit and Seattle. Both consulates provide critical services in the communities where they are located.
January 30th, 2013
RECKLESS CONSERVATIVE CHANGES COULD COST THOUSANDS OF JOBS IN SOUTHERN ONTARIO
RECKLESS CONSERVATIVE CHANGES COULD COST THOUSANDS OF JOBS IN SOUTHERN ONTARIO
WINDSOR – The Conservatives’ ideological plan to eliminate food packaging standard sizing will result in thousands of jobs being shipped to the United States, all because of a decision made by the Agriculture Minister with no consultation.
January 23rd, 2013
MASSE PRESENTS QUEEN’S DIAMOND JUBILEE MEDAL TO JANICE BRODE
WINDSOR, ON –Brian Masse MP presented Janice Brode a Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in front of a crowd of students and colleagues at Walkerville Collegiate High School today. A committed and long-serving member of Windsor’s arts community, Brode will also be retiring from her teaching position at the Windsor Centre for the Creative Arts (WCCA) on January 31, 2013.
January 22nd, 2013
MASSE PRESENTS JUBILEE MEDAL TO MARTIAL ARTS GRAND MASTER ALBERT MADY
WINDSOR – Brian Masse M.P. (Windsor West) presents martial arts hall of famer Albert Mady with a Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal at Mady’s Isshin-ryu Chikara Dojo (studio). Since 1981 Mady’s school has been one of the longest operating schools in the City of Windsor. Mr. Mady currently has 25 affiliate schools operating throughout Canada, India, Germany, Denmark, Kosovo and the United States.
January 21st, 2013
MASSE PRESENTS JUBILEE MEDAL TO 12 YEAR OLD POVERTY ACTIVIST SARAH LEWIS
WINDSOR - Brian Masse M.P. (Windsor West) presents a Queen Diamond Jubilee medal to 12 year old poverty activist Sarah Lewis during an assembly at Central Public School. Sarah over the last several years has raised thousands of dollars and provided clothing in an effort to mitigate poverty in our community. This past year marked the 60th anniversary of the accession of Her Majesty the Queen as Queen of Canada. To honour Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee, special programs have been implemented across the country to celebrate Canadian achievements over the past 60 years.
January 15th, 2013
MASSE ON NAMING NEW CROSSING: ENGAGE THE PUBLIC
Bi-national public naming process appropriately reflects Canada-US partnership
[WINDSOR ON] Brian Masse M.P. (Windsor West) and NDP Border Critic wants the public in both Canada and the United States to have input into the naming of the new crossing connecting Windsor-Detroit. Masse has written the Minister of Transport Denis Lebel, U.S. Transport Secretary Ray Lahood and Michigan Governor Rick Snyder urging them to work toward creating a bi-national process that engages the public to come up with a name for the new crossing.
November 7th, 2012
MASSE'S NATIONAL STATEMENT TRIBUTE TO RALPH EARL SCOFIELD
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 7, 2012
MASSE’S NATIONAL STATEMENT OF TRIBUTE IN THE HOUSE OF COMMONS TO RALPH “EARL” SCOFIELD
Ottawa, ON – Today, Brian Masse M.P. (Windsor West) stood in Parliament to deliver a statement and honour the memory of Earl Scofield a WWII Royal Canadian Air Force Veteran.
October 19th, 2012
ADVISORY: MASSE HOLDS JUDGING FOR LOCAL PHOTOGRAPHY COMPETITION “My Windsor- As I See It”
October 18, 2012 MASSE HOLDS JUDGING FOR LOCAL PHOTOGRAPHY COMPETITION “My Windsor- As I See It” [WINDSOR] Brian Masse M.P. (Windsor West) has receiveda number of photos for his photography competition entitled “My Windsor-As Isee it”. All photos will be judged and the 13 winning entrants will be featuredin Brian Masse’s 2013 community calendar, which will be mailed throughout theriding of Windsor West. Judging will take place tomorrowFriday October 19 th at the United Way with well known localphotographers Don Learn, Spike Bell Master of Photography and Windsor StarPhotographer/Assistant Photo Editor Rob Gurdebeke on the selection panel. Where:United Way 300 Giles Blvd. E (boardroom) When:Friday October 19, 2012 Time:12:45 Mediainvited to view the numerous photograph submissions to be featured. -30- Forfurther information, please contact: Darlene Dunn Mahler Member Assistant 519-255-1472
October 15th, 2012
STATEMENT ON WINDSOR EXPRESS NATIONAL BASKETBALL LEAGUE
October 15, 2012
STATEMENT ON WINDSOR EXPRESS NATIONAL BASKETBALL LEAGUE
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, on November 2, the Windsor Express tips off its inaugural season in the National Basketball League. In its second season, the NBL is the next chapter in Canada's connection to one of the world's most popular sports, the game of basketball, invented by Dr. James Naismith and is another gift from Canada to the world. The NBL's focus on core principles including Canadian content, passion for play, ethical excellence and focus on fans will facilitate the continued evolution of the game. Under the leadership of President Dartis Willis Sr., the Express is applying these principles in my community featuring two Windsor athletes, Gregg Surmacz and Issac Kuon, on their opening day roster and are further nurturing that community connection by supporting education initiatives, community events and small business. In choosing the name the Windsor Express, the franchise tells Windsor's story by acknowledging our community as an Underground Railroad destination and pays homage to the Railmen of Windsor, connecting heritage and history through sport. It gives me great pleasure to welcome the Windsor Express to my community. I am confident the organization will make tremendous ambassadors for our city. All aboard the Windsor Express.
October 4th, 2012
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: Speech on Conservative's Bill C-43, Immigration and Deportation Concerns
October 1st, 2012
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: Masse Questions Public Safety Minister on CBSA Cuts
October 1, 2012
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr.Speaker, instead of strengthening the border, increasing efficiency, thegovernment decided to cut and slash border services to Canadians. It is cuttingfront-line border officer jobs, including 40 intelligence officers, and thedetector dog programs.
October 1st, 2012
IJC UPDATES MASSE ON HUM: Commission Will Make Recommendation to Minister Baird Within Weeks
Windsor, ON] The office of Brian MasseM.P. (Windsor West) NDP Critic for the Canada-US border has been updated on theInternational Joint Commission’s (IJC) progress investigating the Windsor-EssexCounty Hum. In June Foreign AffairsMinister John Baird asked the IJC to “help develop a science-based approachwhich would assist governments to identify the source of the disturbance.” At this point the IJC is close to completingits investigation and will soon be making its recommendations to the Minister.
September 18th, 2012
Masse Questions Public Safety Minister on Cuts to Canada Border Services Agency
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP):Mr. Speaker, again the Conservatives would rather make things up thandefend the interests of Canadians. For a government that talks so much about crime, the minister seems pretty keen to make it easier for criminals to smuggle drugs and guns across the border. This summer he even ordered CBSA to stop searching for drugs headed for the U.S. at border crossing.
September 10th, 2012
TOM MULCAIR KICKS OFF HIS ONTARIO JOBS WEEK IN WINDSOR
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASESeptember 9, 2012
TOM MULCAIR KICKS OFF HIS ONTARIO JOBS WEEK IN WINDSOR
OTTAWA – Official Opposition Leader Tom Mulcair will be in Windsor kicking off a tour of south-western Ontario to talk about jobs and the economy. Mr. Mulcair will attend a meeting with the Chamber of Commerce and visit the Windsor Unemployment Help Centre.
August 15th, 2012
MASSE, CUSTOMS AND IMMIGRATION UNION & DETROIT PORT AUTHORITY TO DISCUSS FERRY BORDER LOGISTICS: Restoring Ferry Service Between Windsor-Detroit Has Strong Support
August 1st, 2012
MASSE MOVES HUM ISSUE FORWARD
International Joint Commission Canada and United States responds to HUM
[WINDSOR] Brian Masse - NDP Critic for the Canada-US Border indicates progress on the Windsor/Essex County Hum. The International Joint Commission (IJC) has responded indicating they will proceed to work to develop a plan to study and provide information on the “HUM”. In a letter just received, IJC Canadian Chair Hon. Joe Comuzzi confirms they will work with Canadian and US academics and governments to examine the issue.
August 1st, 2012
CONSERVATIVES TO KILL UNIVERSAL ACCESS TO CBC: Comartin and Masse calling to maintain free access to public broadcaster
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
AUGUST 1, 2012
CONSERVATIVES TO KILL UNIVERSAL ACCESS TO CBC:
Comartin and Masse calling to maintain free access to public broadcaster
WINDSOR – Today, hundreds of communities across Canada will lose access to Radio-Canada and CBC as a result of the loss of 607 analogue transmitters. NDP MPs Joe Comartin (Windsor-Tecumseh) and Brian Masse (Windsor-West) have taken a strong stance against the loss of the French transmitter in their community, criticizing the Conservatives on their lack of leadership on this file. When CBC shuts down their analog transmitters, televisions in communities across the country will go dark. In Windsor, the Francophone community saw cuts to its local French transmitter station, also known as CBEF. Cuts have ensued on the staffing level, in programming and air time both over television and on the radio. “The Government argues that most Canadians have cable or satellite services, but this approach does not take into consideration the many that do not have the means to afford cable or satellite, particularly in rural communities,” said Comartin, “the fact is, CBC/Radio-Canada programming is publicly funded through taxpayer dollars and should remain publicly accessible.” In Windsor, the issue of the loss of French programming stems back to 1996 when funding was cut from the local CBEF French station. “The erosion of minority language programming certainly does not mitigate the influence of American/Anglophone dominated media in Windsor-Essex County,” indicated Masse, “our community is home to eighteen French language elementary schools, and four French language secondary schools – one of the largest in Southwestern Ontario. This decision simply undermines the Francophone culture.” Since they came to power, the Conservative government has not shied away from attacking the public broadcaster. Instead of supporting the CBC/Radio Canada, the latest budget chose to cut its budget.
July 11th, 2012
MASSE REMEMBERS SREBRENICA ON THE 17th ANNIVERSARY OF THE GENOCIDE
June 28th, 2012
MASSE AND COMARTIN CONDEMN VIA CUTS
Windsor to London Corridor Targeted for Service Reduction
[WINDSOR] The Harper Government’s decision to cut over $41 M out of VIA Rail Canada’s operating budget over the next three years has produced service cuts across Canada that will also impact service in Southwestern Ontario. As of July 29th VIA rail weekend service will be significantly reduced between Windsor and London.
June 19th, 2012
MASSE LAUDS CANADA-MICHIGAN BORDER DEAL
June 12th, 2012
NEW DEMOCRATS WELCOME THE RECOGNITION OF THE POWER OF INVESTIGATION OF THE OFFICIAL LANGUAGES COMMISSIONER FROM CBC/RADIO-CANADA
June 7th, 2012
Statement on the Need for a Canadian Auto Policy
Statement on the Need for a Canadian Auto Policy
June 7, 2012
OTTAWA, ON – In light of the Parliamentary Secretary for Industry Mike Lake MP’s visit to Windsor today to address Canadian and American automotive industry leaders at the 2012 Automotive Parts Manufacturers' Association Annual Conference and Exhibition, I would like to take this opportunity to address again the urgent need for a Canadian auto policy.
April 23rd, 2012
MASSE RISES IN PARLIAMENT AND DELIVERS STATEMENT TO COMMEMORATE NATIONAL HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE DAY
March 7th, 2012
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: Questioning Government on Proposed Trade Deal with the European Union
March 7, 2012
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, Canadians have legitimate concerns about what Ottawa is negotiating away to Europe. Canada's trade relationship with Europe is vital, but the Conservative capitulation means the cost of medication will skyrocket, manufacturing jobs will be lost, and even cities and town will lose their rights. Industry is concerned, cities are concerned, towns are concerned, and Canadian families are concerned.
February 13th, 2012
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: On F-35 Contracts
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, the Pentagon is slashing its purchase of the F-35s. This follows program cuts and concerns from Great Britain, Turkey, Australia, Italy, Norway and Israel. However, the Conservatives have doggedly determined here in the House to say that everything is just fine.
February 10th, 2012
LOCAL HOME ENERGY EXPERTS AND NEW DEMOCRAT MPS SAY EXPIRY OF ECOENERGY PRGRAM WILL SET-BACK JOB CREATION AND ENERGY SAVINGS
MPs joined by constituents and stakeholders
(Windsor, ON) – Today, Joe Comartin, M.P. for Windsor-Tecumseh and Brian Masse, M.P. for Windsor-West were accompanied by Todd Downey, Vice President of Operations from Energuy Canada Ltd., Larry Wright, Service Manager at Fahrhall, Michael Drouillard from AAA Home Insulation, and constituents to discuss the impact of the government`s decision to end the ecoENERGY-Homes grants by June 30, 2012 on jobs and green energy savings in Windsor-Essex.
February 8th, 2012
MASSE QUESTIONS GOVERNMENT ON TRADE WITH CHINA: Discuss manufacturing trade and save Canadian jobs
MASSE QUESTIONS GOVERNMENT ON TRADE WITH CHINA:
Discuss manufacturing trade and save Canadian jobs
OTTAWA, ON – NDP International Trade Critic, Brian Masse MP (NDP - Windsor West), questioned the Harper Government’s intentions to help Canada’s struggling manufacturing sector while they are in China this week.
February 6th, 2012
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: Questioning Minister on Trade with China & the Impact on the Manufacturing Sector
January 31st, 2012
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: On Perimeter Security at the Border
January 30, 2012
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I think it is important to start this debate by acknowledging the effect the changing relationship between Canada and the United States has had on the border in the last number of years. That is why I rose in the House of Commons to ask the minister about a 29-point plan that was being put in place with the United States with a lot of secrecy. In fact, there was very little consultation with businesses and other organizations or groups. One could go online and make a submission, but only 1,000 people actually visited the Web site and very few contributed to that discussion. It was done in a vacuum. Therefore, there could not be the debate and exchange of information that we would normally have at committees that actually brings the issue, which is much more complex and evolved, to the table in a more open and accountable forum for Canadian citizens.
December 15th, 2011
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: Questioning the Government on the Closure of More Border Crossings
December 14th, 2011
MASSE: HARPER GOVERNMENT INACTION JEOPARDIZES DRIC PROJECT
Harper Government Ignoring Potential Legal Challenges that Could Delay or Derail DRIC
[OTTAWA] Startling new information surfaced today when it was revealed that the Harper Government is ignoring a Transport Canada recommendation to bring forward legislation that would inoculate the DRIC project from potential legal challenges for the proposed new crossing between Windsor and Detroit. An Access to Information request for the Minister of Transportation’s briefing book revealed that the Harper Government was in fact aware of potential legal challenges to the DRIC that could delay the project moving forward on the Canadian side.
December 14th, 2011
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: On Bill C-23, Canada-Jordan Free Trade Agreement
December 14th, 2011
Masse Tables Petitions from Windsor-West Residents on Climate Change, Stopping Closures at Canada Post & Strengthening Animal Cruelty Laws
Masse in the House: Tabling Petitions from Windsor West Residents
December 14, 2011
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, my first petition is from Vicky Paraschak. I appreciate her work on it. It is a petition for the House of Commons on the Canadian Interfaith Call for Leadership and Action on Climate Change. The petitioners rightly call for universal action on climate change as it is currently threatening the planet, our ecosystem and the human lifestyle as it is today. They are calling for a green climate fund strategy under the United Nations governments.
December 14th, 2011
Masse in the House: Question on the Windsor-Detroit Border and Minister’s Briefing Notes
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, there is no greater conduit for trade between Canada and the United States than the Windsor-Detroit link. For years now, a new bridge has been in the works, but threatened legal action might thwart this important project. We now learn that the government is sitting on recommendations to shield the new bridge from any legal action.
December 12th, 2011
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: On Bill C-24, Canada-Panama Free Trade Agreement
December 7th, 2011
BUNGLED TRADE DEAL WILL HURT HEALTH CARE SYSTEM: NDP motion demands study of real impact of botched trade negotiations on health care costs
December 7th, 2011
CANADA-EU NEGOTIATIONS WILL INCREASE COST OF PRESCRIPTION DRUGS: NDP
For immediate releaseDecember 6, 2011
CANADA-EU NEGOTIATIONS WILL INCREASE COST OF PRESCRIPTION DRUGS: NDP
Ottawa – New Democrat Health Critic Libby Davies, Deputy Health Critic Anne Minh-Thu Quach and International Trade Critic Brian Masse, will hold a press conference on Wednesday to discuss the impact of negotiations between Canada and the European Union on Canadian health care and the price of prescription medication.
December 5th, 2011
MASSE TAKES CONSERVATIVES TO TASK AS HARPER ACTIVELY NEGOTIATES REDUCED TARIFFS ON ASBESTOS EXPORTS TO THE DEVELOPING WORLD
November 30th, 2011
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: On Border Perimeter Security November 29 & November 30
Brian Masse on Perimeter Security
November 30, 2011
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, how can anyone trust the government? Every time it negotiates with the Americans, it costs Canadian jobs and Canadian families lose out. That is the record. From the softwood lumber sell-out, thickening the border or new fees slapped on Canadians to the government's botched efforts on buy American, Conservatives have failed to defend the interests of Canadians every single time.
November 16th, 2011
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: On NDP Visit to Washington
November 16, 2011
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: On NDP Visit to Washington
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, this week the official opposition has sent a delegation to Washington to do what the Conservatives have failed to do, to speak for all of Canada on energy security. Instead of engaging Americans in a constructive dialogue, the Conservatives are trash-talking fellow Canadians and questioning their patriotism. However, Canadians are smarter than that. They remember a Conservative MP trashing Canada in the Wall Street Journal because Canadians did not support George Bush's war in Iraq. Canadians also recall the same member telling Americans that Canada “[...] is a northern European welfare state in the worst sense of the term”. Who was that MP who was trash-talking Canada? It was the Prime Minister.
November 15th, 2011
Statement on CAW Local 195, 75th Anniversary
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the 75th anniversary of CAW Local 195. This local is a pioneer of the union movement in Canada as the first chartered auto worker union. Today 195 includes over 70 different bargaining units and approximately 7,000 members.
November 15th, 2011
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: Speaking on Bill-13, Keeping Canada’s Economy and Jobs Growing Act
November 4th, 2011
BRIAN MASSE APPOINTED NDP INTERNATIONAL TRADE CRITIC
OTTAWA, ON – Brian Masse MP (Windsor West) was today appointed NDP International Trade Critic by Interim Party Leader Nycole Turmel (see below). Mr. Masse will immediately take over the responsibilities of this portfolio, including sitting as the critic for the Official Opposition at the House of Commons Standing Committee on International Trade.
November 3rd, 2011
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: Masse Questions Parliamentary Secretary on Federal Government Cuts to Service Canada and CBSA Windsor
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise again in this chamber to raise an issue that is very important to my riding as well as to accountability in this country. This regards the current President of the Treasury, the member for Parry Sound—Muskoka, and the misallocation of nearly $50 million of border infrastructure funds. These funds did not go into ridings like mine, where there is a significant thickening of the Canada-U.S. border, but it was at the cost of our economy, tourism and a whole series of things that are very important.
November 2nd, 2011
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: Masse Speaks on Comartin’s Bill C-290 Sports betting and the Gaming Industry
October 25th, 2011
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: Questions the Minister on Border Taxes
Masse on Border Tax by USA on Canadians
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, Canadian families will now have to face a new tax every time they fly into the United States. It is an added expense at a time when budgets are already over-stretched. Conservatives claim to be serious about dealing with the border thickening, but what do we get? We get higher taxes, more fees and greater wait times.
October 25th, 2011
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: On C-18, Canadian Wheat Board
MASSE ON C-18 – Wheat Board
October 25, 2011
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise on Bill C-18 and this motion from the member for Churchill, discussing a central principle of democracy which is people having their rights, especially having their rights respected. It is bound from a tradition of legislation that has been duped by the government and usurped by the people who have the vehicle of the Canadian Wheat Board as part of their conditions of doing business and their investments, not only in terms of their businesses but their families.
October 19th, 2011
MASSE QUESTIONS MINISTER ON LEAKED AND FLAWED REPORT
HSR Study Completely Ignores Crucial Data Regarding Impact US Market and makes Alarming Recommendation
[OTTAWA, ON] The recently leaked feasibility study commissioned by the Federal Government in partnership with the province of Ontario and Quebec is fundamentally flawed and should have taken into account the complete potential marketplace according Brian Masse MP (Windsor West). Additionally the report recommends the elimination of rail service in smaller communitiesalong the corridor. Today Masse asked Transport Minister Denis Lebel in Question Period about how he could have allowed a study on the feasibility of High Speed Rail (HSR) to proceed ignoring such a crucial component of the economic picture.
October 18th, 2011
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: On Copyright Bill C-11
October 5th, 2011
MASSE QUESTIONS HARPER GOVERNMENT ON BORDER PERIMETER SECURITY DEAL
MASSE QUESTIONS HARPER GOVERNMENT ON
BORDER PERIMETER SECURITY DEAL
OTTAWA, ON – Brian Masse MP (NDP Critic for the Canada-US Border) questioned the Harper Government today, in the House of Commons, on their history of signing deals with the United States which have significantly harmed Canadians and our economy.
September 28th, 2011
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: On Border Infrastructure
September 26th, 2011
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: On CBSA and Service Canada Job Cuts
On CBSA and Service Canada Job Cuts
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, the government has its priorities backward. It claims to be worried about crime, but it is cutting back the Canada Border Service Agency in Windsor itself, one of the busiest border crossings and a favourite route for gun and drug smugglers to go through.
September 20th, 2011
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: ON BILL C-4 AN ACT TO AMEND THE IMMIGRATION AND REFUGEE PROTECTION ACT, THE BALANCED REFUGEE REFORM ACT AND THE MARINE TRANSPORTATION SECURITY ACT
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Madam Speaker, I rise here to talk and I guess wind down this debate here today. There are a lot of facts in the bill that are still out there in terms of specifics that the minister could do to really ramp up his powers, but I would like to talk more about the personal aspect of this.
August 29th, 2011
MASSE RESPONSE TO MENZIE'S ARTICLE "CADILLAC JACK"
Original article by Mr. Mezie's is attached.
August 29, 2011
Dear Mr. Menzies,
I am writing in response to your article “Cadillac Jack,” published on National Newswatch and MSN Auto today. Please know that I am respectfully correcting the record on this issue having been the NDP Automotive Critic from 2002 through 2011 and having worked with Jack Layton on this portfolio from day one. Your misinformed article leads Canadians to believe that Mr. Layton was opposed to the automotive industry and its workers, and that is completely wrong.
August 22nd, 2011
A letter to Canadians from the Honourable Jack Layton
August 20, 2011Toronto, Ontario
Tens of thousands of Canadians have written to me in recent weeks to wish me well. I want to thank each and every one of you for your thoughtful, inspiring and often beautiful notes, cards and gifts. Your spirit and love have lit up my home, my spirit, and my determination.
June 17th, 2011
MASSE QUESTIONS MINISTER ON GAS PRICES
Conservatives Continue to Favour Big Oil Over Canadian Families
[OTTAWA, ON] As Canadians continue to get hosed at the pumps Brian Masse NDP Vice Chair for the Industry, Science and Technology Committee demanded the Minister explain his Government’s policies that favour the Oil and Gas Industry over working families.
March 25th, 2011
NDP BILL WILL OVERHAUL INVESTMENT CANADA ACT
‘It’s time Canada’s foreign review process was transparent and accountable,” Layton
Ottawa, ON – The NDP’s Deputy Industry Critic for Mines, Claude Gravelle (Nickel Belt) today tabled legislation that would significantly strengthen the Investment Canada Act, the country’s lone legislative tool for reviewing foreign investments in Canada.
March 15th, 2011
Masse Calls for Public Hearings on New Border Pact
PM tells Canadians Concerned about Sovereignty...Drop Us a Line
[WINDSOR, ON] With on-going secretive meetings between Stephen Harper and the United States around the creation of a North American Security perimeter that threatens to cede Canadian Sovereignty to America the Conservative Government is ready to allow Canadian to weigh in…via email. Call it Harper’s ‘drop us a line and we’ll get back to you’ approach to transparency.
March 9th, 2011
K’NAAN MEETS WITH MASSE AND NDP CAUCUS ON THE CUSP OF FINAL VOTE ON C-393
Final push today before a vote that could mean life or death for millions
[OTTAWA] Internationally recognized and Juno award winning recording artist K’Naan met with Brian Masse NDP Industry Critic and the NDP Caucus today to make a final push for support NDP bill C-393. For 7 years Masse has championed this bill and tonight a crucial vote will take place that will mean the difference between life and death for millions.
March 7th, 2011
NEW DEMOCRATS CALL FOR FULL HEARINGS ON INTERNET CAPS
Consumers must have a chance to bring their perspective forward
[WINDSOR, ON]– The public backlash against the usage based billing has been unprecedented. Unfortunately, despite promising to revisit the issue, the CRTC’s current review – taking into account only four percent of Canada’s internet market - is clearly inadequate.
February 9th, 2011
MASSE MEMORIALIZES BOB MONKS IN A STATEMENT IN PARLIAMENT
February 8th, 2011
PARLIAMENTARIANS UNITE TO RAISE AWARENESS TO TEEN SUICIDE
Ottawa, ON – Today, Brian Masse M.P. (Windsor West) gave a statement in the House of Commons calling for a National Strategy on suicide prevention as part of an all party initiative to reduce suicide in Canada. Currently this issue is bravely being championed by former NHLer Luke Richardson and his wife Stephanie in memory of their daughter Daron Richardson who took her own life in November of last year.
January 21st, 2011
MASSE AND STAKEHOLDERS ADDRESS PROGRAM CUTS TO YOUTH EMPLOYMENT PROGRAM
Challenge issued to the private sector to tackle the shortfall
[WINDSOR, ON] Youth unemployment remains a serious challenge faced by our community; statistically youth are almost twice as likely to be unemployed when compared to the rest of our local labour force. Recent cuts in Windsor to the Canada Summer Jobs Program—a Federal initiative that provides funding to help employers create summer job opportunities for students will only exacerbate this problem and must be addressed. “I have been made aware that the funding for the Canada Summer Jobs Program in both Windsor West and Windsor Tecumseh has been cut. I am disappointed by this but see this also as an opportunity to raise this issue and challenge the community. I am asking our local businesses and organizations to find room in their budgets to hire youth. I am setting aside funds in my budget for this purpose and challenge the private and in Windsor/Essex to do the same.” Masse noted.
November 17th, 2010
LOSS OF TOYOTA ELECTRIC CAR REVEALS CANADA’S AUTO STRATEGY: BATTERIES NOT INCLUDED
Failure to secure investment demonstrates a lack of a National Auto Plan
OTTAWA-Today Brian Masse M. P. (Windsor West), NDP Industry Automotive and Border critic condemned the federal and provincial governments’ complete lack of a coordinated national auto strategy in the aftermath of the announcement by Toyota that new electric vehicle assembly will be in California not Ontario.
November 1st, 2010
CONSERVATIVES & ONE LIBERAL GUT BILL C-393 AT INDUSTRY COMMITTEE
Legislation to fix Access to Medicines Regime has its solution ripped out
Ottawa, ON- Today, Brian Masse, NDP Industry, Automotive and Border Critic slammed all the Conservatives and one Liberal member, Marc Garneau, of the House of Commons Industry committee for gutting the bill to fix Canada’s Access to Medicines Regime (CAMR) during the clause-by-clause phase by removing the ‘one license’ provisions from the legislation.
October 26th, 2010
MASSE PUSHES MINISTER TO REJECT SALE OF POTASH CORPORTATION
Exchange between NDP Industry Critic, Brian Masse (Windsor West) and Industry Minister, Tony Clement.
In the House… October 26, 10
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, the criticism just keeps piling up for the government's handling of potash. Potash Corporation has even taken out a full page ad in the National Post to get the record straight about the Prime Minister's campaign to discredit the company. It says the government's claims simply do not stand up to scrutiny. How can the government continue to side with foreign interests over a proud Canadian company and the people of Saskatchewan? What will it take for the government to finally act in the interest of Canada?
July 21st, 2010
MASSE CALLS ON CONSERVATIVE GOVERNMENT TO IMPLEMENT NDP CELL PHONE CONSUMERS BILL OF RIGHTS
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JULY 21, 2010
NEW DEMOCRATS CALL FOR GOVERNMENT TO IMPLEMENT NDP CELL PHONE CONSUMERS BILL OF RIGHTS
OTTAWA – In light of the recent report into profits of Canada’s largest wireless companies NDP Industry critic, Brian Masse (Windsor West) has renewed his call for the Conservative Government to implement the New Democrat Cell Phone Consumers Bill of Rights. A recently released Bank of America Merrill Lynch report shows that Rogers, Bell and Telus still control 95% of wireless service in the country and have the highest reported profits in the developed world.
June 9th, 2010
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: Speaking against Bill C-9
June 8th, 2010
MASSE QUESTIONS MINISTER ON GOVERNMENT PROCUREMENT POLICY-Lack of public tendering process more evidence of the Government's outrageous spending practices
May 26th, 2010
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: Questions Minister of Natural Resources on the Proposed Sale of Nuclear Crown Corporation AECL
Hansard – AECL May 26, 2010
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, tell that to the locked out workers in Sudbury. It is bad enough the Conservative government allowed historic Canadian companies to be bought out by foreign profiteers and scavengers but, worse, hidden in its bloated budget, it is having a fire sale of Canadians' crown corporations. For example, Canadians have invested $22 billion in AECL and now the Conservatives are trying to sell it for pennies, through the back door. What does this mean for the future of Canadian science and the dedicated staff of AECL? Would the minister explain this outrageous giveaway to Canadians?
May 25th, 2010
MASSE CONGRATULATES SPITFIRES IN PARLIAMENT-Consecutive Memorial Cup Championships Acknowledged
May 14th, 2010
Masse Writes Minister of Justice Calling for Government to Introduce Tougher Penalties for Animal Abuse
May 14, 2010
Hon. Rob Nicholson Minister of Justice Canada House of Commons Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6
Sent by Fax: (613) 990-7255
Dear Minister Nicholson,
I am writing today to again call upon your government to make the necessary changes to the Criminal Code of Canada in order to properly punish offenders of animal cruelty.
May 12th, 2010
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: Speaking on Bill C-452, An Act to amend the Competition Act (Inquiry into the Industry Sector)
Private Members' Business
Bill C-452, Competition Act (Inquiry into Industry Sector)
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Madam Speaker, I am pleased to speak to Bill C-452. The New Democratic Party will be supporting this initiative. The member should be commended for bringing this issue forward. There are those who argue that the Competition Bureau does have sufficient powers right now and does not need additional resources, but I am of a different opinion. There are a number of different products and services out there with which I will deal. I think competition is not entirely happening the way that it should. It should be noted that the debate that will continue at committee will be very important as part of a process to review a series of sectors and I hope we can get experts and witnesses to come forward. The sponsor of the bill made reference to the oil and gas industry in the previous debate on a government bill and mentioned the lack of competition in the oil and gas sector. There is almost a collusive element. I noted in particular the Petro-Canada situation where instead of investing in Petro-Canada refineries in Burlington, it shut down the plant and now imports gasoline from Esso and sells it in Petro-Canada stations across Ontario. So there does not necessarily have to be price fixing, but there will not be very much in variables involved with regard to trying to move into a more competitive situation. It has always been the case, as we look at the oil and gas sector, where there is a lack of refinery capacity, vertical integration with the industry, a series of different elements that lead to basically a formula that is a recipe for disaster for Canadians and their pocketbooks. It was interesting when the government lowered the GST with regard to oil and gas, and the cost that the companies now actually get back, it was not passed on to the consumers. The prices and profits have risen significantly and not even one single organization or company took advantage of the opportunity of the 2¢ reduction to pass it on to consumers. They took it and put in their own pockets. Because the government had no accountability whatsoever in terms of monitoring the process, or no interest whatsoever, we have lost hundreds of millions of dollars out of the coffers of this country every single year that could have gone to different things whether it be health care, or whether it be more money to the Competition Bureau to be able to examine anti-competitive practices. A whole series of things that could have been addressed are now gone, and the companies now have record profits and record tax cuts from the government which are windfalls they have enjoyed. It is only fair that we actually examine the bill and look at the oil and gas sector as one of the variables in how it can be addressed because the bill is specifically geared to the industry sector which is a responsible way to approach it. It allows targeting to certain areas where there is a lot of interest. We are seeing that now at committee where there are a couple of current issues that are very important. We have the entrance of new players into the Canadian market with regard to telecom and that means more communication devices, cellphones, BlackBerrys and wireless service provisions that are being expanded in Canada. There are those who feel there is no competition in that sector and relatively similar price elements make it very difficult for consumers to get a better benefit. They have also been receiving record profits and are quite lucrative. Almost all the groups and organizations of the big telecommunication companies have done well. There are three new entrants coming into the market, so there is no question that this is timely to look at whether or not the Competition Bureau is going to be sufficient to have the independence to examine cases, have the resources to do so, and have the tools to be able to make decisions that are going to increase the competitive nature of businesses in Canada, those that are regulated and those that are non-regulated. Another issue raised often with regard to this issue is credit cards. New Democrats have been calling for a number of credit card reforms. My good colleague from Sudbury has been pushing this issue and the Minister of Finance is basically moving for a voluntary agreement. It is clear that we have deficient credit card competition in Canada. There are some groups and organizations that are more progressive, but at the same time it is seen basically as a system that is stuck where the vast majority of credit cards have interest rates that are quite similar. Once again, that is an area where we want to see more healthy competition, but we have not. The banks are also making record profits and we have seen the same things there. My office receives complaints with regard to how close bank fees are among different organizations. There does not actually have to be a collusion, where there are brown envelopes changing hands and information being wired back and forth to predetermine the actual cost of items and passing them on to the consumer. There just has to be basically a general acknowledgement that they are going to stay in a certain field of play and compete in that field of play. That is not real competition. For a few years, we used to carry out inquiries into the insurance industry as well and about the issues there. We just have to talk to people about auto insurance and a series of things, and they often find that there is not enough healthy competition or they cannot get certain services whatsoever. I know that some people are outright denied or have to pay really high fees. There are maybe only one or two companies that will provide that demographic, so the fees are through the roof with regard to costs and they really do not get into a competitive market because certain groups of people are written off altogether by these companies. The Competition Bureau would be well-equipped to look into that because if people cannot even get quotes on insurance, they are stuck with very few recourses of action. We can just talk to young people about what they are paying for auto insurance. They in particular are scammed because I have not seen the evidence that warrants that type of behaviour. The other issue I have been working on regarding competition is the issue with Toyota. Toyota is a company that is under criminal investigation in Japan, the United States and Europe. Yet here, the government has not even done anything, aside from having two meetings at the transport committee, which we forced the government to do. The issue behind that is not just in regard to the safety of the vehicles. It is also an issue of competition. Did Toyota know about problems with its vehicles and choose not to fix them, to gain market share at the expense of other manufacturers? It does not matter if one makes a curling iron or a car, if one knows that the device has a problem and chooses to neglect and not fix that to gain market share, it becomes a competition issue because it runs other companies under. I am very proud of negotiating a change in public policy here, with the Liberals at that time, a number of years ago. It used to be law in Canada that if a business was given an environmental fine or penalty, it could claim that as a business tax deduction. I viewed that as an environmental issue, health and public safety issue, but also a competition issue, and here is why. We had a drug company, for example, which had a $10 million fine. To explain this clearly, this company was charged with something. It went to court. It was fined $14 million and at tax time, it actually got $10 million back as a business-related expense. If a company polluted the lakes, oceans and streams, and it got caught and was fined, whether it be millions of dollars or hundreds of thousands of dollars, it could claim it as a business tax deduction and get money back on that. What was important about this change, and why I am proud of negotiating the end to it, was that the good companies were getting punished just as much as any others. They were following the law and doing the right things and they had to compete against those that were actually abusing people and the environment, and that is not right. I welcome the member's bill here today and look forward to having the discussion at committee. I think it will be a helpful discussion at a very important time, when many products and services need to be looked at under a competitive regime.
May 12th, 2010
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: Speaking on Bill C-14, Fairness at the Gas Pumps
40th PARLIAMENT, 3rd SESSION Wednesday, May 12, 2010 GOVERNMENT ORDERS Fairness at the Pumps Act
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak to Bill C-14, An Act to amend the Electricity and Gas Inspection Act and the Weights and Measures Act. It has been termed the fairness at the pumps act but it is actually a series of different measurements for a series of different products. This is an attempt at a smokescreen by the government to try to appear tough on the oil and gas industry, in particular to the retailers in this instance, who are not the culprits at the end of the day in terms of high pricing. That comes from other parts of the industry. It is important to note that we will not be supporting this to go to second reading because this is really about de-regulation, less accountability and would cause greater problems for the Canadian public as opposed to fixing the current system under Measurement Canada, and penalties that could be done as well. My colleague who spoke before me was speaking out about the upcoming Memorial Cup. I can say that the Spitfires will be returning as champions. We will continue that debate another time. However, I wanted too ensure that he did not have the last word, as he thought. He was wrong on that and he is wrong on his predictions as well. This particular bill comes about in a very interesting way. It was actually a number of years ago that there was a challenge to the industry through Measurement Canada. That information was gathered a number of years ago and did not go public. A freedom of information request by the press broke the information and the story opened. It then led to some interesting discussions. I would remind the House that on May 12, 2008, my leader, the member for Toronto—Danforth, asked the then minister of industry at that time, who has since been punted to another department, about this issue and whether or not the government would do anything on it. In the response to my leader, the minister at the time said: Second, I have instructed regulatory changes to be prepared. These will increase the onus on gas retailers. Fines will be increased from $1,000 per occurrence to $10,000 per occurrence. Meanwhile, it took approximately two years for this to happen, and it was under another minister. The government was very clear about trying to distance itself from this issue by not acting on it. It is rather perplexing because what it has offered are some modest changes in terms of accountability. I do want to run through some aspects of this bill, which is very important, and some of the background to it. I will also tackle some of the deficiencies of the bill and why it is just a smokescreen for an attempt to appear accountable to Canadians about this industry when the government really is not. As I mentioned, a media story appeared in the Ottawa Citizen after an investigation was done by Measurement Canada which found that 5% of the 200,000 fuel pumps that it investigated between 1999 and 2007 delivered less fuel than reported on the pump display. The government inspection data showed that about one-third of Canada's gas stations, about 14,000, had at least one faulty pump. We had a chronic situation with regard to that and it was uniform. There was a big story in my paper in Windsor West because we had some of the worst pumps in my riding. What that means is that people are not only getting ripped off by what they are paying at that time to the company, but they are also paying tax on phantom gasoline. Despite having put this bill forward and despite having that information over all that time, the government did not use any of the available tools to either do one of two things: to fine the companies for doing that, which it could have been doing; or attempting to restore, from its own coffers, the theft from Canadians when it actually took taxes on phantom gasoline. That is important because it just shows the lack of respect in terms of fixing the problem. We do not have a study that goes for nearly a decade which finds a significant problem across the board and then wait for a couple of years to introduce legislation. Ironically, this legislation would lead to the industry self-policing itself. Basically, it would be a wink-wink, nod-nod approach to accountability that would allow the industry to actually grow itself. I will get into it later, but the inspectors who would be part of this process would likely come from those very companies. They would be creatures of the companies. As the testing, the equipment, the measurement and all those things are very specialized, it would be very difficult for independent companies to get into the market. Measurement Canada would end up going to the administration of fines and penalties as a sole responsibility. It will probably be a lot less busy because it will probably get a lot less evidence about the actual situation. I have no confidence whatsoever that consumers would benefit from the particular changes outlined in this bill. I mentioned that the bill is about other issues and I want to read them off. This is about measuring devices for a series of things: retail petroleum, downstream or wholesale petroleum, dairy, retail food, fishing, logging, grain and field crops, and mining. We are going to have deregulation in all of those elements as well. We do not accept that as a process to move forward. I would point out that this industry has already gotten off enough with lack of regulation by not having the significant strength of a competition bureau. It does has some tools to it. In fact, a find was levied on a company just a little while ago today. It can happen but they are still not sufficient in terms of having an ombudsman office or the accountability monitoring that has been recommended since 2003. I know the member for Pickering—Scarborough East, who has done terrific work on this file, will remember the days of coming here in the summer to have hearings and have the industry basically rule the roost and once again put this issue on the back burner. Unfortunately, we still have not seen accountability, although that member has done terrific work on this file. I want to follow up now with the issues related to this that would change. It is important to notice in legislation that we can refer this to committee, and that is sometimes a reasonable approach to take. For ourselves, however, we will not do that because we do not want to see the use of private sector authorized service providers being activated by this legislation at the end of the day. The risk is far too great. We have habitually seen abuse from this industry upon nations and upon customers, which is one of the reasons that we have to get off our dependency on oil and find other alternatives. We just have to look at the Gulf of Mexico right now where once again the industry was able to get its way. For those who say that it did not, that it is nonsense, because we all saw the political campaigns of the United States that said, “Drill, baby, drill”. That has all evaporated right now but what has not evaporated is the hundreds of thousands of gallons of crude that is threatening the ecosystems that affect not only the United States but also Canada. We have asked questions about that and the Conservative members have heckled us saying that we are in Canada and not in the United States. However, those ecosystems are shared by a number of different species that have a connection to Canada. We also know that some of that oil can eventually reach into some of the international streams and eventually, if it is not plugged, reach into our own system here This is a very serious issue and deregulation and letting industry self-police has led to that problem over there. When the “drill, baby, drill” campaigns were going on during the presidential election, the end result was that even the Obama administration loosened up standards to allow for more offshore drilling. The Americans have now put a moratorium on that, but there was enough of a penetration to open that up. On the Canadian side, we have seen a whole debate over a number of years about the taxation policy of this issue. The taxation policy of this issue in this chamber has happened for many years and that is because there is basically a breakdown of our taxes into three taxes: the crude oil cost in terms of the price at the pump; the gross profit margins for retailers and refiners, which is around 16% to 18% for marketing; and taxation at 38%. Canada's taxation on this comes from royalty taxes, excise taxes and sales taxes. I do not want this debate to be forgotten in terms of what members have previously said here when they talked about the cost and the price at the pump. I think the minister pointed to the cameras and warned the retailers that they were coming after them for the amount of money that they might have been scamming from not having the proper pumps fixed right, either knowingly or unknowingly. There have often been government and opposition members talking about the cost of this to Canadians, that it is really important for our lifestyle, important for our environment and important too for how we use our natural resources. I want to read a quote from the House of Commons on May 12, 2004: Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister will know that across the country Canadians are struggling with record gas prices. Canadian businesses are being hurt. Canadian consumers are burdened with the difficulties this is causing, but the government itself is rolling in record gas tax revenue. Will the Prime Minister finally do the right thing and agree to lower gas taxes for Canadians? The member who said that was the current Prime Minister. It was the current Prime Minister who was advocating for the reduction of taxes on gasoline, something that the government really has not done. When they tried to do that by removing the GST, there was no accountability in that for the system. What we have seen is the coffers of the nation suffer with the reduction of gasoline taxes at the pump from the GST without the savings being measured and paid back to consumers. That is a real problem because the companies are getting record profits, record tax cuts and also extra revenue now from the taxation policies that were never followed up with proper accountability. That is because we do not have an ombudsman office. We do not have a system in place that ensures the policies are going to be fulfilled by the actual objectives and that was unacceptable. I will read another quote: ...when all is said and done, the government seems content with high gas prices. The reason is the government does not want to reduce gas taxes, so it actually wants high gas prices.... Will the government admit that the real reason it does not want to do anything is that $1.40 is its actual target price for gasoline? That was the current Prime Minister who was once again advocating for a policy that he has never put in place, and that is the policy of reducing gas prices for Canadians. We never saw any of that with regard to this announcement. We did not hear the Minister of Industry say the government was going to ensure that any of these savings are going to be passed on. In fact, the creation of this system and this regime that is being proposed could actually increase the cost of gasoline for the retailers and subsequently for Canadians. There is going to be an increase in inspections, which I argue is good in a sense, but at the same time those costs are going to be borne by the retailer, and the retailer will pass those on. The margin of profit for the retailers is very small, especially for an independent operation. They do not have the same luxuries as some of the larger ones. When we go to our gas station, it is almost like a drug store these days. They sell chocolate bars, pop, chips, coffee, and they partner with different organizations to run small businesses out of their stations. They have a whole series of different products and services, because gasoline has such a small margin of profit that they end up having to rely on other measures. When this issue is going to be passed on to the inspectors, when they have to pay the fees for it, it will be interesting. They will be able to set their own prices for this. They will be able to keep a system in place that will be very difficult to challenge. As I mentioned earlier, the industry will have a key advantage. Who has the training, who has the equipment, who has the knowledge, who has the skill set to be able to do the type of testing that is necessary and make a business out of it? They will have behind them a wealth of backing in terms of loans as well as operating costs that will give them a strategic advantage over any independent business or organization that may want to bring about accountability by being independent and doing that measuring outside the realm of the industry itself. I suspect it will be a subsidiary, or it could be a spin-off, or it could end up being relied upon to get training, equipment and a series of things that will create a dependency model. We will not see the type of innovation that we will need on this issue. We will see a continuation of deregulation. We will see the industry police itself and it is an industry, once again, that has shown no support whatsoever to being more competitive. That is critical. When we look at supply and demand we know that right now we have a record high supply of a number of different gasoline and fuel products, yet pricing still remains above a certain level. That is unacceptable. We also do not necessarily have to have collusion in this industry, because there is a lack of competition with the vertical integration that has taken place. I would look to the issue, for example, of the Burlington refinery station that was shut down by Petro-Canada. Instead of investing in that facility and ensuring more competition for refining, it mothballed it and shut it down and then bought Esso gasoline to put in Ontario Petro-Canada sites. So there is no competition with regard to the product and the actual use of it on the open market. It is important because it does affect daily lives for a number of people. We have everything from low income people who are very significantly affected by gasoline prices to truckers, in particular, who are dependent upon this. We have been talking about this issue since 2002-03 when it went to committee. Many truckers have moved into more independent operations and are getting squeezed right now. There is also the rural element where they have to traverse over a greater distance and have no choice but to use private transportation to ensure getting to a destination to be able to work or whatever it may be. They also have stronger winter conditions, using more fuel for a series of things. When we look at this act being supposedly more accountability for consumers at the gas pump, in Ontario they will wake up on July 1. I do not know why the Prime Minister and Mr. McGuinty cannot leave Canada Day alone when bringing in a new tax. This is Mr. McGuinty's second taxation date on Canada Day. First it was for health care and now it is for this. Maybe we need an act of Parliament to stop taxation from starting on Canada Day. But when the HST comes into effect in Ontario, there is going to be a windfall for the McGuinty provincial government. I had parliamentary research do some work for me. For those out there, parliamentary research is available for all members of the House. It is a very important part of our democracy. It allows economists, lawyers and other types of researchers to do independent work for members who may want to share it later on, but it is independent from an MP's office, other members and the government, and it is critical. I asked for a breakdown on the HST in a responsible way. Researchers looked at 13 major cities across Ontario and the average price of gasoline over a number of years, I believe five years. Under the regime right now, they expect the provincial government to bring in an additional $1.2 billion in gasoline tax, and another $500 million is going to come in, so $1.7 billion in total, just for gasoline and diesel for the province of Ontario next year. That is if the price remains just under $1 a litre. This windfall the provincial government is stepping into is available only because the Conservative government has agreed with the harmonized sales tax, and we can quote the finance minister talking about policies on this and wanting to bring it to other provinces. Ironically, we are borrowing $4 billion to bring this into Ontario. So we are borrowing money, we are going to pay interest on that money as we are in a deficit right now and we are then going to ask Ontarians to pay an additional $1.7 billion more in taxation at the pump this summer. In conclusion, we need to have real accountability. We do not need deregulation in this industry. We need to make sure it is going to be held accountable. Every time anything is brought up, the government claims foul, that there are no issues, but I can say there is an issue and it is that Canadians have been getting hosed at the pumps not only by the retailers having poor equipment but also by the government's not living up to what it said when it was in opposition and introducing policies that increase taxation on people.
May 11th, 2010
MASSE CONGRATULATES SPITFIRES IN PARLIAMENT-Consecutive OHL Championships Acknowledged
May 11, 2010
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): made the following statement in the House of Commons congratulating the Windsor Spitfires for earning their second consecutive Robertson Cup. Additionally he wished the team the best of luck in their bid to repeat as Memorial Cup Champions. Mr. Speaker,
May 10th, 2010
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: Masse Questions Minister on Pride Funding and the Effects on Tourism
Hansard – May 10, 2010
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, the city of Toronto is still reeling from the cancellation of the government support of Pride celebrations this year. Toronto's pride week is not only North America's largest Pride celebration, it is also internationally recognized and brings approximately 300,000 people to the city of Toronto every single year. In fact, last year alone the government support of $400,000 led to $6 million of economic activity for Toronto alone. This is a marquee event. What does the government have against Pride celebrations in Toronto?
May 5th, 2010
Masse Tables Petition on Bill C-300 on Corporate Responsibility in Mining
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to present this petition from petitioners in the Windsor-Essex County area with regard to corporate responsibility. The petitioners are asking that Canadian mining companies observe and are responsible in relation to human rights as well as the environment, making sure there is no degradation. They are calling upon the government to do two specific things. The first is to create effective laws regarding corporate social responsibility, and second, to consent to the passage of Bill C-300. I am proud to say that this is the original work of Ed Broadbent, who had brought this to this chamber.
May 5th, 2010
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: Questions Minister of Industry on Cuts to Regional Development Agencies
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, the manufacturing crisis is far from over. Just as the economy is starting to get back on its feet, Conservatives are cutting the legs from underneath workers. While they hand out massive tax cuts to their CEO friends, they are turning their backs on everyone else in Canada. Why at this tenuous time is the government cutting funding to Industry Canada's Regional Development Agencies that help Canadians in high unemployment areas. Why another attack on workers? Is it just because the Conservatives have to do it out of ideology?
May 4th, 2010
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: Questions Parliamentary Secretary for Transport on Canada Post Procurement Policies
May 4, 2010
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I am glad to be able to raise this issue again. I am sure I am going to get the canned points from the parliamentary secretary. They seem to be unable to even think in this place anymore, as we were handed this speech from the Prime Minister's Office. I have some very important questions about procurement in this Parliament with regard to Canada Post procuring vehicles from Turkey instead of Windsor, where we have a minivan that would meet the specifications for that procurement. The Canada Post argument was that it is responsible to tender this out under the WTO and NAFTA, which is wrong and a lie. In fact, I had parliamentary research issue its own report on this. It is independent. It is done for all parliamentarians. It is one of the important pieces our democracy has left. It has told me that the only obligations to nations for procurement on this type of an issue are to the United States, Mexico, Hong Kong, Iceland, Israel, Japan, Korea, Liechtenstein, Aruba, Norway, Singapore, Switzerland, Taiwan, Peru and Chile. It is absolutely false that we could not have had that procurement here. It is interesting that the government, which claims fiscal accountability, is borrowing billions upon billions of dollars that we have to pay interest on in the future. We are passing that debt on to our children, yet we are not allowed to do procurement in our own country, when it has committed to keep jobs and communities alive. My community has had the highest unemployment rate for a number of different years. The auto industry has gone through a number of tough years and is re-emerging. This was a perfect opportunity to provide more stimulus to Canadians. Instead, the government is borrowing from the people of Canada and sending the money to Turkey for no reason whatsoever. It is absolutely unacceptable. It did this to the Navistar as well. Think of the poor people of Chatham. We saved that truck plant and could have produced trucks for our own soldiers. The men and women of Chatham could create the products that our own service people would use. Instead, the government allowed that procurement to go to the United States. Under our national defence procurement, it could do that. What is interesting is that the U.S., in that plant in Texas, can jump the queue on Canadian vehicles. It also mandated its vehicles to be produced there. It was a double standard. We have seen two specific cases where procurements are going to areas of manufacturing. We have had so many problems. We have a high dollar. We have poor trade relations with other countries. We go by these rules that are made up, in terms of NAFTA and the WTO, that do not apply. The department is propagating an absolute lie. I asked the minister about that. He decided to not even address the issue. He did not even decide to take this on. This is unacceptable. We are calling right now for a procurement policy that is fair, responsible and done with other similar countries, as they are doing as well. This is not a system that is done independently from Canada. This is one that the United States as well as European countries do in terms of procurement, including Turkey. I ask this minister to go back and make sure the government switches its decision and buys these vehicles from Canadians.
April 20th, 2010
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: Masse Questions Minister of Transport on Toyota Recalls and Safety
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, the government is still failing to stand up for Canadians. The U.S. transportation secretary just levied the largest fine against Toyota for knowing about brake problems months in advance. It was $16 million for “....putting consumers at risk and failing to come clean about a pedal defect that they have known about for months.” Here in Canada, we have learned that Toyota executives have secretly known about acceleration problems for at least five years. When will the minister take action and stop the second class treatment of Canadians?
April 15th, 2010
NDP SLAMS FUEL PUMP PROPOSAL AS “YEARS LATE & MILLIONS SHORT”: Government allowed gas stations to rip-off consumers for millions
April 15th, 2010
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: C-9, Budget Bill Implementation Act
Hansard – April 15, 2010 C-9, Budget Bill Implementation Act
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Madam Speaker, it is a privilege to rise and speak about the budget. I am going to shorten my speech a little as I need to be in two locations at once, but I want to touch on a couple of important points that are critical for the economy, also for social policy to evolve and also to tackle some of the challenges that we have today.
April 14th, 2010
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: Masse Follow-Up with Minister of Transport
Hansard - April 15, 2010
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, the American transportation secretary has labelled Toyota “safety deaf”. He has actually levied millions of dollars of fines and is considering more. Now Consumer Reports has put a Toyota vehicle on the rare “do not buy” list. What is happening on the Canadian side? The minister actually issued a statement and a press release applauding Toyota's behaviour. Meanwhile, American, Japanese and other European governments are investigating Toyota executives for failure to act. The minister and the Prime Minister know how to call the RCMP. When will Toyota executives be investigated in Canada just like they are being done across the planet?
April 13th, 2010
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: Masse Questions Baird on Toyota
Hansard – April 13, 2010 - Toyota
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, when it comes to accountability and Toyota, the government has abandoned public safety. In fact, Canadians have been forced, through their own private measures, to uncover the truth and get justice for themselves. Now it appears that contrary to their claims, Toyota executives have known about acceleration problems for the past five years. The Motor Vehicle Safety Act allows for a criminal investigation. This has been done in Japan and also in the United States. Will the minister commit to pursuing a criminal investigation so Canadian families can get the justice they deserve and compel Toyota to finally follow the law?
April 1st, 2010
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: Questions Minister on Procurement Policies of Canada Post Vehicles
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, the government chose to have military trucks procured out of Texas, throwing hundreds of workers out of jobs in Chatham, Ontario. Now we hear Canada Post is planning to buy thousands of vehicles from Turkey rather than the Windsor made minivans because it says it is obliged to under NAFTA and WTO. The problem with that excuse is it is not true. In fact, in the midst of an economic recession when Canadian-made alternatives are available, it is unacceptable, short-sighted and inappropriate to use taxpayers' money this way. Will the minister insist Canada Post procure Canadian-made vehicles? Taxpayers cannot afford to subsidize--
March 23rd, 2010
CONSERVATIVES AND REGULATOR GANG UP ON CBC: CRTC decision lacks leadership overall; undermines future of public broadcasting
March 16th, 2010
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: Questioning the Minister of Transport on Automotive Safety for Canadians and Toyota Recalls
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, while the U.S. Congress, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Securities and Exchange Commission and other officials conducted investigations into Toyota, Transport Canada was saying that no further investigation was needed. Under substantial pressure, Toyota officials finally appeared before committee only to say that they will continue to treat Canada as second class. There was no apology from Mr. Toyoda and no Canadian safety research centre. However, they did shed light on one important fact: Transport Canada does not have the adequate resources or adequate staff to do the job. No wonder the minister did not want the hearings. Is there anything else Transport Canada is hiding? Hon. John Baird (Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, CPC): Mr. Speaker, we have tried to approach this issue in a non-partisan fashion. Road safety is not a partisan issue. I offered to the member for Windsor West today that we are prepared to hear any suggestions they have on what we can do to make road safety even better than it is today. We have seen a steady decline in fatalities on our roads and that is because of the dedicated work of the professional public servants at Transport Canada and the industry working collaboratively to make things happen. We are obviously following up every single complaint that has come forward with respect to Toyota and other manufacturers. We will continue to do so. Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, this became a partisan issue because this minister refused to do his job last November when the problems first surfaced. Today at committee, we witnessed the worst sort of blame game, with Toyota blaming Transport Canada. Government members discovered for the first time that Toyota might be a problem. We have all learned from the massive Toyota recalls that American regulators are doing more to protect Canadians' safety than the government. Does the minister intend to reform the Motor Vehicle Safety Act? As Toyota's plan stands today, it will still be done in the United States and Japan. Is he going to let foreigners determine the serious nature of the concerns of Canadians and protect ourselves over here? Hon. John Baird (Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, CPC): Mr. Speaker, we have followed up every single complaint that was made by Canadian motorists and have looked into every single issue that was put forward. As I have already told the member in the House and before question period, if we can learn from the events of the past six months and work on a non-partisan basis to make Canadian roads safer, he can count on the full support of this government.
March 10th, 2010
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: Exchange with Minister of Transport on Toyota Recalls, Consumer Safety and Fairness for Canadians
Hansard – March 10, 2010 Toyota
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, the inaction of the government on dealing with Toyota recalls has left Canadian consumers with nothing compared to their American neighbours. Toyota is providing rental cars and vehicle pickups to Americans but not to Canadians. A new Toyota research centre is going to the U.S. but not to Canada. U.S. Congress is getting full disclosure on recalls, making discoveries like the book of secrets and documents where Toyota boasts of saving $100 million by delaying recalls. Why will the government not stand up for Toyota's Canadian consumers?
March 4th, 2010
MASSE QUESTIONS THE MINISTER ON THE PROPOSED CHANGES TO FOREIGN INVESTMENT
Hansard – Foreign Investment March 4, 2010
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, the government is rushing to tear up rules that have ensured Canadian innovation built world-class Canadian companies employing thousands across this country. It wants to strip foreign ownership restrictions in key strategic sectors essential for future growth such as satellite, telecom and mining.
February 11th, 2010
MASSE & LOCAL COMPANIES EXPOSE MEAT SAFETY RISK IN CANADA: Reduced inspection policy increases security and health risks
February 3rd, 2010
AUTO SAFETY MUST BE EXAMINED DESPITE PROROGATION: Prorogation prevents House of Commons Committee hearings into Toyota recall
January 14th, 2010
NDP UNVEILS ONTARIO’S HST GAS PRICE GOUGING: Province going to get a $1.73 billion windfall from HST on gasoline and diesel
December 10th, 2009
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: Masse Questions Finance Minister About Restricting Bank CEO Bonuses
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, while the constituents in my riding and Canadians across the country are suffering under the recession, the Globe and Mail is reporting that the CEOs of Canada's six largest banks are pocketing $8.3 billion in bonuses. This comes less than one year after the government propped the banks up with $75 billion. In the United States and the United Kingdom, the governments are taking this on and are restricting executive pay. Why will the Conservative government not do the same?
December 8th, 2009
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: Speech on the HST in Parliament
Speech on the HST Hansard – December 8, 2009
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Madam Speaker, it is an honour to rise and talk about this issue. I agree with my colleague that it is important to mention the tar sands. My community of Windsor, Ontario is going to be significantly affected by the tar sands because the refining of that gunk is going to be done across the border in Detroit. Windsor is down wind of the expanded refining facilities so we will feel the consequences. This is a real issue for the people in Windsor. Progressive Canadian and American environmental groups have been working together to prevent some of this from happening. It is a critical situation because it affects not only our economy but also people's health. With respect to Bill C-62, it is important to talk a bit about the process that is going on here in the House of Commons and the “harpocrisy” of the Conservative government. It is really outstanding because the government is trying to ram this issue through the House, yet with other issues, such as the economy, it does not yet such an issue would be supported by all political parties in this place. I would point to the process the government is going through with respect to its infrastructure funding. The Conservative government is not using the gas tax, for example, as a model to get some of those infrastructure projects out the door. This is a political procedure the government is using to ram this legislation through this session of Parliament aided and abetted by both the Liberals and the Bloc. We are missing out on the important work that usually takes place here to make sure that legislation goes through properly. The government is behaving in a way similar to the American-style republican party of adding riders on to money bills that change legislation as opposed to actually doing the good work that usually happens at committees and doing the due diligence necessary to investigate the impact of legislation on various groups. Specifically, we would have debate here in the House of Commons on a bill and that bill would be moved to committee. Witnesses from all corners of Canada would be called and they would provide testimony as to the impact of a certain piece of legislation. The HST is certainly going to be significant for Ontario and British Columbia. It does involve other provinces as was noted before in the House. Conservative governments have a history of trying to ram legislation like this down the throats of residents being aided and abetted by some of their provincial support mechanisms. In this case it is the Liberal Party in both Ontario and British Columbia. In speaking about history, I can think of the Grant Devine government of Saskatchewan. That corrupt government was eventually thrown out of power and the HST was repealed by the Roy Romanow NDP government. That NDP government brought in great legislation, balanced the books, cleaned up corruption, and set a significant mark for that province. Everybody remembers the corrupt Grant Devine Conservative government. That is important because it is tied to the HST. The Darrell Dexter NDP government in Nova Scotia has provided a rebate on the home heating portion of the HST. That government is also starting to delist items from the HST. I am going to read from the independent report from the economists at the Parliamentary Research. They said: As noted earlier, the average annual interest rate on the federal government's market debt over the 1998 to 1999 to 2007 to 2008 period was 5.3%. Should the federal government borrow $5.9 billion in order to finance the proposed transfer to British Columbia and Ontario and should the government repay this amount in exactly 10 years and assuming an average interest rate of 5.3%, the total nominal cost to the federal government would be about $9.9 billion. That is important. We do not know. That is assuming that we are actually going to be recovering and getting out of recession. The minister mentioned a few minutes ago about the jobless rate going down but one of the reasons it is getting lower in a place like Windsor West is because people are running out of benefits. There has been high employment for years. We have been warning this government and the previous government of a lack of sectoral strategy for the manufacturing sector. The member for Outremont was quite right talking about the dollar has raised the Canadian so high and so quickly, that we have been shedding tens of thousands of jobs in the manufacturing sector over the last number of years. What we have in communities like Windsor is we now have people who are exiting the benefit system that was available to them. It is important to recognize what are we going to borrow and what are we going to get for it in terms of a return on this. I have seen some of the documents and I have read through the argument of what it will do for the manufacturing sector. It will eliminate some taxation that is happening on multiple levels. There is no doubt about that and it is a fair argument. However then we have to believe that those savings will get passed on to the consumer. I do not believe that is going to happen. Those savings would have to be passed on to the consumer and then the theory is that people can buy more and stimulate the economy. I mentioned in earlier exchanges in the House that it was the argument put forth when we had no conditions put on the reduction of the GST on gasoline prices. What we saw was the GST reduced on gasoline, so the coffers of the nation lost that revenue coming in, but we have not seen that passed on to the consumers. I have yet to see a study that shows that those savings have been passed on to the consumers. I would suspect many Canadians justly so question gasoline prices, especially because the government killed the only program that was capable of monitoring that, a monitoring agency, a watchdog program that would have been fairly and independently out there. We have the industry self-policing itself which is ludicrous. One of the reasons I talk about the process that is so important when the legislation passes is because we figure out ways to ameliorate problems when we have legislation in front of us. Earlier this past week we had the Minister of State (Small Business and Tourism) in front us at committee who admitted that there has been no study on the effects of tourism on this particular HST grab. That is critical because there was a study done by the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario and also from British Columbia the Butch Gardens study as well which show that tourism was going to be affected significantly by this HST grab. Hotels, restaurants, theme attractions, travel, all those things are getting a big whack tax put on top right now. The tourism industry is the fourth largest sector in the Canadian economy. They have been facing a perfect storm as well. Not only the introduction of the U.S. passport requirement which is a real challenge because only 35% of Americans carry passports but we have had the petrodollars affecting the tourism industry all the way from the Niagara region, across Ontario and even in my region where the high dollar has resulted in a shift with the rapid acceleration. It used to be an advantage for Americans to come over and take advantage of that. Then the government whacked the tourism industry again when it cut out the GST rebate. This is the party of our good friend Brian Mulroney who brought in the GST and there were severe economic repercussions on the tourism industry because of that. In fact when he introduced the GST in 1991, the food service industry in Canada suffered a 10.6% decline in real sales, 7.3% of which was attributed to the GST. Once again our Conservative friends introduced that tax on Canadians. We have now a situation where we had a couple of hearings and we had some witnesses yesterday at the tourism committee, because we happened to actually be studying another sector of the economy, so we were able to get some testimony from them on the HST. They see this as a significant challenge. We had some good testimony, and that is important because they are calling for some rebates and a series of things to be delisted, but we cannot really get to that full evidence and analysis because there is no actual study at committee on this bill. That is a shame on the Conservatives, and the Liberals in particular, for not even allowing that public debate to take place, not even allowing that evidence from witnesses who are important in our sectoral economies, to come forward and to show what challenges would take place. There is complete ignorance on that. They prevented some really good evidence on how this will affect the tourism industry. People have to be wondering about their representation, when they are in southern Ontario and they look at the Niagara region and elsewhere where we have to compete so hard for dollars. What is interesting is that our tourism deficit has ballooned under this government, and I will get into that later. We have seen U.S. visitations to Canada, which are three-quarters of the visitations that we receive in the overall tourism industry, decline significantly. On top of that, we have actually seen that deficit expand quite significantly with job losses that we have been suffering in those industries. A number of different independent studies were done by the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario. They looked at a number of different scenarios as examples of what the HST is going to increase and what they are going to face. Keep in mind that Canada is already one of the most expensive places in the world to visit. I believe we rank fourth in the world in terms of the overall expense, so now on top of that, we are going to have another level of taxation that is going to further add to that component. That is a real problem, especially given the fact, as I mentioned earlier, that the dollar is high, U.S. visitation is down and we have a struggling economy. Borrowing from our own taxpayers and from these businesses to throw another tax on top of them is going to affect a number of different scenarios. One area is the weekend getaway, with a base cost of $1,603. Currently we have an 8.3% tax, but when we add the HST, future tax and incremental taxation, it is going to actually increase our taxes 43.6%. There will be an increase when we look at the incremental taxation related to the activity on that type of a vacation, when we take all the different components of that vacation in the visitation, so it is going up significantly. They cannot even leave camping alone. This is one of the things that is ironic about this in Ontario. This is another Dalton McGuinty tax day on Canada Day. He cannot help himself, apparently. Maybe we need to have a motion in the House of Commons here to have Dalton leave our Canada Day alone. He brought in his health care tax a number of years ago after not telling the public about that, and then once again went through an election here and did not tell the public about that. They are now introducing a new tax on camping. My son is a Beaver and their Beaver group is one of the examples of the new taxation. We have to do fundraising for them as it is. We live in the inner city where some of the kids cannot afford some of these events. In fact his troop, because there are kids in it that cannot afford the different events, was just recently subsidized by the other troops for a fun day that we had in Windsor, and I thank all the volunteers for that at the Cleary International Centre for the Arts. It was a terrific family event day. Now when they go camping they are going to get taxed. When they go camping, they have an estimate of $2,173. The current taxation is $188 or 7.9%. That is going to go up and there is going to be future taxation for the other things that are added on. They are estimating around a 33.2% increase overall when they add all the activities from the camping trip together. We could not even exempt camping in Canada. We could not even have a discussion or a debate about that. We just have to accept that this is going to happen. We also looked at a shopping weekend in Toronto where good friends of the Conservatives, the Liberals are right now in the Toronto area. A shopping weekend of $4,856 is the average shopping weekend in Toronto according to the study and there is going to be a 14.2% increase on that when we add in the hotels and all the different things that people would have. So that is going to make it more challenging for Toronto as a destination. We have already had a number of challenges such as SARS for example. In my riding people from the Detroit area refused to come into Windsor or Toronto explicitly because of the SARS issue and we had to debunk all that. It has taken years to recover from that issue. There have been challenges and tourism destinations are very important for the country, not just for Toronto. Tourism is our fourth largest industry and once again we have not been able to study this issue or to have any meaningful input on it other than these outside measures others have been doing. They are from credible companies. HLT is the advisory group for this one. A family ski holiday of $4,363 ends up with the incremental taxation resulting in a 25.3% increase is the estimation because things like lift tickets and a whole series of other things that did not have any tax now are subjected to this new tax grab. What is important in terms of the impact on the overall economy it was good to have the Canadian Tourism Commission at our committee. It does a very good job. Madame Mackenzie runs it. It has many challenges. It has a small budget, small department. Interestingly enough the Liberals moved it toward the Olympics and that is a big event and destination that hopefully does take place. We hope that will turn some things around. This is a quote from documents: Canadian outbound travel spending continued to rise in light of a strong Canadian dollar to reach a record level of $26.9 billion in 2008, an increase of 15.5% over 2007. As a result Canada's international travel deficit, the difference between what Canadian residents spend abroad and what international travellers spend in Canada, rose to a record of $12.6 billion in 2008. That is devastating. When there is a significant deficit like that in one of our largest industries, it is critical to turn that around. We are not just talking about Americans or other destination marketers coming in that are going to have to pay the HST. When the government scrapped the GST rebate they were very upset about that and many people said that is one of the reasons they will not come back. With the HST imposed in Ontario and British Columbia there could be more incentives for more Canadians to spend their tourism dollars outside of Canada. Part of the CTC's mandate is to have Canadians spend money in their own communities or to travel around Canada. But now we are adding another level of cost when we are competing for tourism dollars at a time when we have the significant challenges of a crumbling economy. This is just absolute utter nonsense that we would not get into a responsible evaluation about the impacts of this, whether we agree or disagree with the ideology of the bill, but we should be concerned about getting some empirical data to analyze and propose some solutions that would look at this and to show some leadership. To simply say we are washing our hands of it is unacceptable. It is important that Canadians realize this is the agenda. When the Conservatives brought in the GST supported by the Liberals I remember the big scrap that was supposed to happen, it never took place and there have been successive attempts to bring in provinces. This is exactly what the Minister of Finance said on May 2 in budget 2006: The government invites all provinces that have not yet done so to engage in discussions on the harmonization of their provincial retail sales tax with the federal GST. That is what the minister said. That is the reality. Nothing happens without this. We need to have a proper study before we tear this at Canadians.
December 8th, 2009
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: Presents a Petition Calling for Creation of a New Volunteer Service Medal for Canadian Troops
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to present a petition from members of the community of Windsor West who are calling for the introduction of a new volunteer service medal to be known as the Governor General's Volunteer to acknowledge and recognize volunteerism by Canadian troops. There have been two times in the past where there actually has been a Canadian volunteer service medal dating back to 1939 and most recently back to 1953. What the petitioners are asking for is that the undersigned residents of Canada respectfully call upon the Government of Canada to recognize by means of issuance of a new Canadian volunteer service medal to be designated the Governor General's Volunteer Service Medal for voluntary service by Canadians in the regular and reserve military forces and cadet corps support staff who are not eligible for the aforementioned medals and who have completed 365 days of uninterrupted honourable duty in the service of their country since March 2, 1947. It is an important part of recognition that is often overlooked of our Canadian military forces.
December 3rd, 2009
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: Masse Questions Minister on the HST and Tourism
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, the Minister of State for Tourism revealed at committee yesterday that the government has yet to study the impact the HST will have on tourism. That is astonishing and negligent. This is the fourth largest industry in Canada. It has also suffered enormously because of U.S. passport laws. This country's tourism industry has now become a deficit of $3.3 billion and Canada is also one of the world's most expensive places to travel to. The HST will make this worse. Will the government shelve the HST or is it willing to send the tourism industry over the brink?
December 3rd, 2009
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: Speaking on the Investment Canada Act
Hansard - December 3, 2009 - Canada Investment Act
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I rise to follow up on a question with regard to the sale of Nortel industries to Ericsson. At the time we advocated that Nortel be examined under the Investment Canada Act and that the Investment Canada Act should be triggered for a couple of reasons. One of those was the national security clause that is now part of the Investment Canada Act. It is important that I note that the Investment Canada Act was recently changed in a government budget bill. What that meant is it did not have the full due diligence normal legislation has when it is updated in the House of Commons. It did not go to committee. We did not have witnesses. It was part of a budgetary allocation. Hence the new model is exposed in many ways. That means weakened and has actually caused part of the problems. The Investment Canada Act has a new provision called the national security clause, as I have noted. It is important in this case because the type of information and the type of department that was sold by Nortel to Ericsson did so for over $1 billion. Then shortly thereafter the argument came from the company and because of the way that the new legislation is written they could write it off as being less that $300 million and hence not subject to the financial arm of the Investment Canada Act. However that does not take it away from being under the national security clause. There was good solid testimony provided in the committee hearings that we had about the military and also the security aspects of Nortel in this LTE technology, which is fourth generation streaming capabilities for the service provision of communications. I am going to read a submission from RIM which is an expert with regard to this type of technology and its applications and where it believes the security aspect is involved. It states: Mr. Brian Masse: Mr. Speaker, the issue with regard to national security is something that I actually raised back in 2002. It was objected to by then the Conservatives and Alliance. This was over China Minmetals Corporation, and I have long pushed for that review in this chamber. Unfortunately, we did not have the due diligence of it going to committee and it has created many loopholes and weaknesses in that legislation and the review. That is the reason that they put it in a budget bill, because it was not worth the paper it was printed on. It is interesting with regard to the national security file, because there was an investigation of Vodafone in Greece, as its networks were corrupted and it actually saw the loss of information from its military, its police and its elected officials. There was an investigation that actually had a disclosure that unauthorized interception of software had been installed on Ericsson switches used by Vodafone in Greece, so we have a specific case here related to Ericsson where its systems were actually manipulated and changed, and that is why we needed to have this full review and accountability.
December 3rd, 2009
Masse Tables Petition Calling for Getting Aid to Africa to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria
Hansard - December 3, 2009
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Madam Speaker, I am honoured to table a petition here again on the issue of AIDS in Africa. The Canadian Grandmothers for Africa are calling for the House of Commons to immediately set a timetable to meet, by 2015, a 40-year-old promise to contribute 0.7% of our gross national income to development assistance; to contribute its share to the global funds to fight AIDS, TB and malaria with 5% of the funding needed for each of the next five years; and lastly, to make the legislative changes necessary for Canada's access to medicines regime to facilitate the immediate and sustainable flow of low cost, generic medications to developing countries. As a representative who actually sat on the original hearings on this in 2002, it is very important that the petitioners see justice on this file, because only one application for generic drugs has gotten to Africa and this is a solution that we can have done immediately for these petitioners who have submitted this.
December 1st, 2009
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: Speaking on Bill C-27, the Anti-Spam Bill
House of Commons Debates – Bill C-27 November 30, 2009
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise on Bill C-27, and I will read the precursor to the bill so that the public knows what we are talking about. This is known as the anti-spam bill, but in particular, it is An Act to promote the efficiency and adaptability of the Canadian economy by regulating certain activities that discourage reliance on electronic means of carrying out commercial activities, and to amend the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission Act, the Competition Act, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act and the Telecommunications Act. This is about limiting electronic messaging that is unsolicited and unwanted which is coming across the Internet to many people in their homes and businesses. It is affecting the economy and the productivity of Canada, and in my opinion, is also a breach of consumer rights in many respects. This is the reference in terms of the informal notation of spam. We all have received it in our mailboxes, whether it is an account at work or at home where we have received unsolicited electronic messaging. I am pleased that the government brought Bill C-27 forward. It had interesting dynamics on the political front because during this process, it appeared the government was going to cave to a number of different initiatives from the Bloc and the Liberals to weaken the bill, but that was prevented at committee. We do have, I believe, all party support right now to bring a piece of legislation in line, which I think we can all be proud of, that is actually going to benefit consumers and the Canadian economy. I would like to note that I am a bit worried about where the government is going with this legislation in terms of prioritization. We made an effort in the committee to work through this really quickly. I gave my personal word as well to move through this really quickly. We did get that done at committee and we did make sure that we preserved very much the fundamentals of the bill. There was some weakening of it, which I did not agree with, but at least it still meets the test at the end of the day. It then took literally weeks before it appeared back here in the House of Commons and is finally coming back here again. It needs to be voted on again here in the House of Commons before it can move to the other place, the Senate, and unfortunately, there have been some other bills that have been stalling in the Senate. I do not know the politics between the Liberal and the Conservative Parties with regard to some of the legislation, but one of them I would note is Bill C-6, which is critical. This relates once again to consumer product safety for recall. I would point out more recent examples. There was the one with the baby cribs, but there was also the one with regard to Toyota products, where four million Americans received a recall notice related to brake and acceleration issues caused by the floor mats, and meanwhile, the 200,000 Canadians who had the same problem over here only got a public announcement on a website posting, at their expense really. I do not know why. I have written to Toyota and asked why they have not done this for Canadians. It is ridiculous. Our public safety and a number of things are at risk, but that is an example of a bill that is stalled and we do not know where it is going to go. The bill enjoys strong public support and it has the support of the New Democratic Party. This is part of our electoral platform in moving a number of consumer issues forward that we really want to see implemented as law. The other place will have to do some work on this bill and there will be some lobby efforts on this bill. That happened at our committee. I could be wrong but if I am not mistaken, some members of the other parties were accepting questions literally from the lobbyists in the meetings. There will be a push to try to weaken this bill and there are some elements in this bill that make it really strong and that make it a good bill for Canadians and Canadian businesses, because it affects our economy. When we take a look at the issue of spam and electronic messaging, one of the things that we need to recognize as a country is that Canada is actually in the top 10 and one of the few countries in the G8 that do not have this type of legislation. We are behind. We can catch up with this bill quite significantly and have one of the better models to deal with the issue. Approximately five per cent of the spam in the world comes from Canada. We are actually known as a harbour of some of the actual big spammers that are out there. I think we stand fourth in the world in terms of spamming, behind Russia and just ahead of Brazil. We heard this before and it was important that we change it in terms of some of our workings with the United States. In the past, movies playing in Canadian theatres could be taped and that was technically not illegal. We were able to solve that problem over a year ago, giving credit to the way the Canadian market worked in terms of being fair to consumers and the industry. I see the same with this bill. The model that is being proposed in this bill is a bit different than the United States. The United States passed a law in 2003 called the controlling the assault of non-solicited pornography and marketplace act. The U.S. calls this bill the can the spam bill because there is an opt out clause. An individual has to opt out from receiving information. Canada would have a much more proficient system with this bill. If an individual does not have an existing business relationship or does not have permission, then he or she should not be sending unsolicited emails. This would be a better system because it would clean things up more profoundly. Some good things have taken place with regard to the United States system. There have been some charges related to it, and there has been a reduction in spam. But nothing will solve this problem outright. There is no doubt that no matter what law we put in place, there are going to be some challenges. There will be those who will always break the law. It does not matter what law we actually set in this chamber because there are always those who will take advantage of other people despite their economic and personal issues. Electronic commerce activity is increasingly important in a competitive world. It is also important for us to be able to meet our needs on the telecommunications run as we learn about the world and use the Internet. Harboured down with approximately 87% of activity being electronic messaging undermines the Internet. It is important to note that some good electronic commerce does take place. Businesses can effectively use it for advertising their services. Consumers want to use electronic commerce and that will continue, but there will be some regulation under this bill. This bill would take away some of the most offensive and egregious issues. Individuals would be penalized. Private action could take place as well, which is another strong point of the bill. I will get into this later in my speech. As I mentioned, spam represents about 87% of email activity around the world. It was estimated last year that 62 trillion spam emails were sent out and it is done in a variety of ways. This bill would identify some of those ways and eliminate them. I will get into a few of those as well. An Ipsos Reid poll found that approximately 130 spam messages are received by Canadians each week, and that is troubling because that is up 51% from the year before. It is not just the irritation of removing unwanted messages and solicitations, but it is also time-consuming. Employers are worried about the time this takes and the cost. I do want to make a point which we in the NDP have been really strong on in terms of consumer rights. It is not a right to send these messages, but it is actually a privilege. Think about it. When an individual purchases a computer or other electronic equipment that receives messages, that individual pays for that out of their own pocket. The individual has to pay to maintain that equipment as well as paying for continual upgrades to software and so forth to make sure it is working efficiently. The Internet service, the actual conductor of the information, has to be paid. Those who are sending spam need to understand that. It should not just be an absolute right that we get inundated by activity, especially when we have some in the marketplace who are using malware and other types of spy software to try to gain more information about us, where we have been surfing on the Internet, what our habits might be as consumers on the Internet . That also undermines the ability for us to have confidence in it as a vehicle for doing commerce and legitimate business. It is important that those people who behave in that activity would be punished for offences in this new act. Now, this bill is going to create laws based on the federal trade and commerce power. That is important, because it will provide an opt-in approach. So, there will be existing business relationships that we have and there is a timeframe for the sign-up. Now, interestingly, one of the things that the bill does provide for is windows of opportunity for businesses with current existing relationships to make that connection with their customer, and one of them is for 18 months in terms of a previous existing business relationship. Now that was extended by the Bloc. It moved a motion to extend it to 24 months. That is something that I opposed. Once again, I believe that 18 months is plenty of time for someone to get information from us. It is a long time period, being over a year and a half, but now it is two years, and I think that is unfortunate. However, once we have this law in place, there will be a process for those to be punished who are actually doing it. The way it is going to have to be done is through, basically, three regulatory agencies. The first is the CRTC. It is going to be involved in terms of investigating complaints. Then we have the Competition Bureau. The Competition Bureau is going to be responsible for the administrative monetary penalties, if there is an actual breach that has been confirmed by the CRTC. The fines can be up to $1 million for individuals and $10 million in all other cases. So there is going to be a recourse to show to those spamming powers out there or those who are doing it that there will be punishments, that it will be more than just a fine, that it is going to be significant for them to deal with and, hopefully, it will curb that behaviour. There is also the Privacy Commissioner that is going to be involved because sometimes our privacy rights are affected by spam. There have been a number of cases where spammers have basically used headliners that look like many banks' headliners and then, for example, people click, thinking it is their own bank, but it turns out it is a spammer collecting data and information from them. Sometimes that can be quite perilous. There have been cases where people have lost money thinking it was their own financial institution or a legitimate financial institution and they had provided access to some of their monetary resources. Unfortunately, that is why the Privacy Commissioner needs to be involved because it also will protect our personal privacy, and a lot of people are concerned about that. I think one of the reasons that the bill will be strong is it would have those three regulatory agencies actively involved in maintaining the accountability of the actual bill. Now, interestingly enough, there was a bit of a debate about whether or not this bill should deal with the telephone solicitation issues. It would not. However, at the same time it would allow the minister actually some degree of ability, capability, quite frankly, a bit more strength to work on the do-not-call list. I hope the minister takes this up to fix some of the do-not-call list problems. One of the ones that is in there that this bill would prohibit is the issue over survey. It is interesting. The government almost capitulated on this. I would like to thank those in the industry, Michael Geist and a number of other different individuals, who pointed out this giant loophole that we could drive a truck through; whereas if someone proposed or sent a survey to somebody it did not count as solicitation or spam and, hence, it would have actually avoided the whole regime. The government, at one point, looked like it had actually tabled an amendment on this--it was in our book right here--and it ended up not actually tabling it; it backed down from that amendment. Ironically, then the Liberal Party picked it up and actually tried to move it, but was defeated when the Chair actually overruled that. We were lucky that we did not have that. It is one that I hope will be cleaned up with the do-not-call list; that is, the survey loophole that everybody knows about and that is actually hindering the capability of the bill. We did not actually have a section on that, so that gives the minister some flexibility to fix it, and I hope that he takes me up on that suggestion. It is also important to note that there was another issue in the bill that was defeated. It is important to recognize that because it is an issue that people are concerned about. In the original manifestations of the bill was a provision that would have allowed companies to go onto our computers and seek information that that computer site. If we had agreed to them being part of our Internet relationship, we would be consenting or allowing them to go onto our computer and access information and documents and basically surf through our site unknown to us. That issue was taken off the table as well. There was great Internet discussion and blogging about this offensive piece of the legislation. I was happy to see that back out as well. It is important because had that provision been there as well as the other provisions I have mentioned were taken out, I do not know whether I could have supported this legislation because it would have weakened it so much. It would have become far weaker than even the do not call registry. It is very fortunate that we were able to get consensus and push that back. As well, there were a couple of amendments that were interesting and I was rather curious as to how they came forward. We will see whether or not in the Senate they will be pushed forward again. One of them came from the Bloc and that was the extension of the time to actually opt out of an email subscription. But the way it works is if I, for example, agree to receive an email and I have a relationship with a company or if someone is sending me that information, then I can opt out of that later on, just send an email that I do not want to continue this relationship. The way the legislation was that in 10 days I would be taken off the list. The Bloc moved a motion for it to be 30 days. The final part of the bill is 10 business days. If we agree to an email through our bank or somewhere else, they will instantly start spamming or sending information. Once we agree, they start flying in. I have Aeroplan points, for example, from Air Canada and boy, that thing rings all the time with all kinds of stuff. I have agreed to that relationship and sometimes it is helpful, sometimes it is irritating, but I make that choice. To suggest that I want out that and it would take 30 days to get out of that is absolute nonsense, especially with the sophistication of some of the programs, 10 business days is a sufficient time to end that relationship. It is not burdensome at all especially when they have the capability of adding us in instantaneously when we agree to get on these lists. I was puzzled about this and when it gets to the Senate we will see whether or not there is going to be another lobby effort either to kill the bill or to weaken it some more. If it weakens it more Canadians will be upset because they are seeking a solution to this. As well it is important to reinforce the issues of how serious spam is. Spam is used in crime. Spam is also used in an organized way that affects the whole Internet capacity of the system. We just have to look at some of the botnets. This is like a zombie computer where specific programs are written to go in and then turn our computers into a generator for spam or our email address for someone else who controls a whole grid of them. I am going to wrap up with the support for the bill. We want to see this happen as soon as possible. I am glad it has finally come to this chamber. I was disappointed it took so long because we worked really hard at committee to get it here quicker and I am concerned it will have some impact in the Senate. We will see whether the senators are going to stand hard on the bill and make it happen quickly for Canadians and make sure we will get some real results. Mr. Brian Masse: Mr. Speaker, one of the interesting results of the American legislation that was passed was the conviction of Robert Alan Soloway, who was arrested in the United States. He was one of the world's largest spammers. The member is quite right when he refers to the issue and its connection to crime. It was not only identity theft and fraud but money laundering was also part of the 35 criminal counts he was charged with. I am not exactly sure where it is. I think it was in 2007 that he was arrested and some of the cases may be going through the courts. Those were the types of things he was charged with. That is important because it is not only about privacy but whether people's money can be taken, government information and a great deal of personal information that can be used for other types of activity that can be stolen. The issue is related to money laundering. That can make it very harmful to citizens but also companies. I want to touch on companies, too, because some of the market they invest in gets lost or hurt because of spamming. Some of the spamming is very particular, very clean in imaging and induces people to think it is something it is not, such as, for example, the banking industry. It costs that industry because it loses customers. People then do not want to trust that company because others have abused it. That is why we do not want to lose sight of the criminal aspect of this as well. Mr. Brian Masse: Mr. Speaker, this issue really needs to be taken seriously. This is a privilege, not a right, especially given that businesses and people have invested in their own computers. They are the ones paying for the maintenance, as I noted. They are also paying for the Internet service being provided. It is very much a privilege, not a right, to interchange in such a relationship. Otherwise, what should happen is that maybe consumers should get 5¢ for every ad or some type of remuneration for doing it. That really should be what is happening if this type of behaviour is seen as a right, not a privilege. I would argue there are some really good models, as the member has noted. Organizations are trying to create some best practices so that they can keep their areas lined up correctly. With the three government agencies, the CRTC, the Competition Bureau and the Privacy Commissioner, there will be a really good, strong regime to set some good examples right away than those that are terribly abusive. That will hopefully bring in line those who are kind of on the fringes of doing this activity. Mr. Brian Masse: Mr. Speaker, there is a couple of good example in the past, but when I think about what will happen right now, if we are lucky, the bill will go to the Senate and be passed some time in 2010. I am hopeful there will be no election and the bill becomes law. I was watching a video today about some of the crime bills that were lost when the Prime Minister called the election, despite elections being set for ourselves in the future. We hope we will not see that happen again. Businesses will have an additional two years before it comes into full implementation, when they will have that existing business relationship that can be struck with their current client base. I am hoping the government does roll out a program right away at the beginning so that we can get to those businesses, not wait till the last minute and then have those types of problems. There will be flexibility with the CRTC and the Competition Bureau to be able to determine if there was an accidental breach or whether these are habitual problems that are happening in particular companies. There are all kinds of wonderful ways that we can connect electronically, with the Government of Canada's own infrastructure system, and as well, even connecting into, for example, the chambers of commerce across this country. There will be a lot of opportunity to engage the public and, I would argue, having a two year period before full implementation, so we are really not looking at it immediately. It depends when it gets through the Senate. It might be 2012 or 2013 before the law would be fully implemented and protecting consumers and the Canadian economy, and that is a long time. Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): I think it will, Mr. Speaker, but the member raises a really good point with regard to the class action. That is one of the things on which we could probably have spent more time to see whether that could have evolved into part of the final structure of the bill. We did not have much discussion on that at all, but it might be one of those things that we could look to adding to the bill. I am hopeful, maybe that would be a strengthening of the bill and that it could happen at the Senate. If not, I am hopeful that the bill stays in its current format, at least as a starting point, and then from there we could look at massaging the bill if it is not meeting the needs. Once again, this is critical. This is not just about inconveniences and annoyances. This is a massive use of technology and the abuse that is taking place with customers. It affects the Canadian economy and it is also giving Canada a black eye right now.
November 24th, 2009
MASSE IN THE NEWS: MP wins one for motorists
November 19th, 2009
MASSE IN THE NEWS: INFRASTRUCTURE - G8 funding spread far beyond host town
Thursday, November 19, 2009 GLOBE AND MAIL (METRO) NATIONAL NEWS, Page: A4
INFRASTRUCTURE G8 funding spread far beyond host town KAREN HOWLETT
Elgin Schneider is not expecting motorcades ferrying leaders of the world's Group of Eight nations to drive through his tiny village of Sundridge, population 900, when they convene in Ontario's cottage country next June for their annual summit. But the village's long-time mayor is delighted all the same that Sundridge has secured enough money from a fund earmarked for summit preparations to replace the crumbling sidewalks along the main drag with new interlocking bricks.
November 17th, 2009
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: Speaking on Bill C-23, Proposed Free Trade with Colombia
Hansard Debates - House of Commons November 17, 2009
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, Bill C-23 has been spoken to a number of times. The member for Burnaby—New Westminster should be congratulated for continuing to work in a co-operative manner to seek a solution to this impasse that we have as a party with this actual trade agreement. This trade agreement is wrong on a number of fronts, but it also shows what is happening here in the House of Commons. We essentially have the Liberal Party facilitating this policy, through the Conservatives, and it was done very interestingly. The Liberals took their previous member off the international trade committee, where they actually did have some reservations to some degree about this and were actually solid in the position with us and the Bloc Québécois to have an investigative third-party evaluation before we go forward with this type of an approach, and they replaced that member with a former Conservative member who flip-flopped across the floor, and that member has brought with him and the new leader an ideology of facilitating the Conservative government without any conditions at all. It is unacceptable to stand here and not address the reality that what we are talking about is rewarding a narco state that has a murderous agenda against the trade union members in its own country, that has a narco state of cocaine that affects many of the world population as it gets out there, and giving it privileged access to Canadian markets. That is what we are doing with the agreement contained in this bill if it goes forward without any terms or conditions. It has carve outs for labour. It has carve outs for the environment. It has carve outs that would allow business to trample on the rights of individuals and that could actually even sue countries for its own interest versus that of the population. That in itself is bad enough, loading the deck to ensure that it has a balance against that of the civil society, the elected members of the state and legislatures on both sides, in Canada and in Columbia. But it also is a signal that we are telling the rest of the world that, yes, we are open for business with a narco state with a murderous agenda on trade union activists. And we are not talking about just the mining activists, for example, who are fighting for workers' rights. The people that are being murdered in this state are from the nurses union, from the teachers union, and actually even from prison union. They are from a number of different civil society organizations and bodies that have joined together under the laws of that country and they keep getting killed or disappear. There is a pattern that can be, and has been by international independent analysis, traced back to the paramilitaries and also to the governing party and the president. It brings it back to the state. I have had a chance, during this process, to ask about some of those cases when we had the ambassador appear before the committee. I read off four specific cases of people who were killed, recent trade union activists, men and women. I read their stories and I asked for a response. They said they had no response for those cases and they would get back to me, and they did. Every single one of those cases, they claim, was an act of passion against them by somebody in their own relationship. It is absolute utter nonsense. The tribunals that they have put up are not enough. What Canada is clearly telling the rest of the world is that we are open for business, despite the crime, despite the corruption, despite the problems with that country, and we are going to reward it first and give it privileged trade ability with our country. That is different from what is happening out there. That is different from what is happening in the United States. The U.S. put the brakes on this. It has realized, and it is a trading nation as well, that there is a responsibility for the governing body to actually bring this into line before the Columbians get privileged access to its market. What do we do over here? We just give up. We let a Conservative government that likes to huff and puff on crime all the time--how many times have I heard the Minister of Justice in this place use the words they are going to crack down on crime, they are going to do all kinds of policies. Interestingly enough, they do not even provide the proper supports in the system to actually implement those policies. It is very disingenuous. There is no way the justice committee can get through many of the bills that have actually been tabled, between the government bills and the private members' bills. The Conservatives keep introducing them all the time knowing that they cannot get through the system and that they will never see the light of day. Yet they keep introducing and announcing them, and they are supposed to be cracking down on crime. Why is it different internationally? Why can they not see that the actions that they are setting right here are telling many other people across this globe that it is okay. It is a complete contradiction but Canadians are not being fooled by this. They are not being fooled by the Conservatives or the Liberals. I would point, for example, to 50 prominent Canadians who signed a letter to the Leader of the Opposition during their Vancouver meeting, which turned out to be just bringing in a new leader without any type of discussion and no policy. That is their business, not ours. Regardless, they brought in the new leader and 50 prominent people did not even get an adequate response. I would say that this is really important because Canadians are understanding where they have drifted. They have drifted right over to those benches over there. In fact we are split up as New Democrats over here. What should happen is that some of the Liberals should be over there and our group should be joined together. That is what should be happening. In fact they can expand the bench. These are real people. I want to read from the letter to really get an idea of what we are talking about here. T.K. Adolpho, a trade union activist for agri-mining, was killed on January 1. Pinto Alexander, of the prison trade workers union, killed by an unknown gunman. There are so many of these things, over 2,000 over a number of years, with unknown gunmen all the time. Blanco Milton from the Teachers Union Federation was killed on April 24. There are many more. It is sad because when we look at a country that should be showing leadership, it should be this country of Canada. We were known for that in many respects, for being progressive, for being a country that was actually going to speak the truth to the powers that be and let them know that if they wanted to work with us, we could do that. There have been many examples where we have, but at the same time, we would not give them the unconditional gift of access to our markets and to our people and a privileged relationship without any expectations. That is what we have. Perhaps it is the influence of the mining industry in Canada. Perhaps it is just a grab for the agriculture elements, and that is fine if we actually are going to work with Colombia to be able to change things, but at the same time there has to be a fair balance in this and that does not exist right now. This debate has been held since 2008 when it was first announced. We had a standing committee go down to Colombia to talk with them, to see the actual things that are on the ground there. I know our member for Burnaby—New Westminster came back even more convinced that the approach should be to put pressure on the Colombia government, not rewarding them first by giving them this privileged trading relationship. We have trade with Colombia right now. That is not going to change. There is an engaged relationship to begin with, but to give in on a privileged trading relationship with no terms and conditions is unacceptable. What is the government afraid of? What is the Liberal Party afraid of? Are they afraid to have an independent analysis of the entire trading agreement and the relationship and the issues that are taking place that are murdering so many people? What are they afraid of? Is it because they will find the paramilitary, the government and some of the cocaine and other industries tied together perhaps? Are they afraid that that might be the thing? Are they afraid that Canadians might wake up and realize that their tough on crime government, the Conservative Party of Canada, is so weak internationally on crime that it does not care if a narco-state gets access to a privileged trading relationship? It does not care if those drugs end up on the streets of Canada because we are going trade with them no matter what. We will do it unconditionally and then hope they change their practices, but in the meantime they can just keep doing what they are doing because we do not want to have any type of dissension and we do not want to have our country being one that leads the way, that says that there has to be a sense of social justice, and trading principles are tied to that, to build a better world for all of us. Mr. Brian Masse: Mr. Speaker, the member asked an important question with regard to this issue. Labour and environmental standards have been carved out of this agreement and put into side issues. We have never had a successful challenge under NAFTA on a side issue. That is important to recognize because side issues are seen as offshoots as opposed to being the centre of gravity of the agreement. We need to have balanced environmental and labour standards. The member for Winnipeg Centre has spoken strongly on the issue of asbestos in Canada. We would not want to degrade our environment or subject our citizens to bad policy just to get an economic advantage over someone else. That is the wrong approach. We want to operate from a principled point, that being that all workers deserve the same rights and the same support. That is how a country can enter into a competitive fair system where trade is open and beneficial and the economies of both countries will grow in a responsible way as opposed to what could happen as a result of this agreement. There could be exploitation as a result of this agreement through substandard mining and other types of practices that could really undermine not only the short-term of the country because of the damage done to the environment, but also to the long-term of the country as the environment could be destroyed for generations. Mr. Brian Masse: Mr. Speaker, essentially that was very disappointing. Given the increased evidence of the regime in Colombia and the continuation of assassinations during our debate here in Canada really warrants a third party independent analysis. It would at least be a basis for engaging in a constructive approach to dealing with this issue and the challenge of giving a privileged trading relationship to a narco-state with such a murderous past. That at least would provide us with an opportunity to have a greater indepth discussion. The Liberal Party has been shifting to the right quite significantly and has mirrored the Conservative Party in so many aspects. The Liberal Party has just simply given in. A delegation went down to Colombia for a second time. Perhaps they were wined and dined. I have no idea. But they came back without recommending that analysis. That is unfortunate because we need a balanced approach. We could then have a greater indepth debate before we give a privileged trading relationship to Colombia for nothing. Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I enjoyed the speech which was quite active and lively to say the least but it is very important. For a number of months we have been leading the charge together to bring awareness to this ill-thought deal. I want to focus on one element that I think is really important. We already have trade with Colombia and we will always have some trade with Colombia, just like other nations. However what we are talking about is engaging in a privileged trading relationship. That is what this is really about. I would like to ask my colleague from the Bloc why the Conservatives continue to talk about how they are tough on crime. They are so serious about and they have flooded a number of bills into the justice committee. Ironically the committee cannot get through all the bills. However at the same time the Conservatives want to enter into a privileged trading relationship with a narco state that has not only a murderous record on trade unionists but also has a drug economy. Why would the Conservatives want to engage in this type of a privileged relationship? Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for her very good speech and offer some solutions on our trade policy. I would like to ask her a question with regard to the ideological slant of the Conservatives who are pursuing this. They often talk about how tough they are on crime and how tough they are on drugs and that whole agenda here in Canada, but at the same time they are willing to open up our borders for a privileged trading relationship. This is what we really need to emphasize. We have trade with Colombia right now which goes on between our two countries and will always go on with regard to a number of different goods and services. However what we are doing is considering a privileged trading relationship that is the exception. This is what the narco state that has not only human rights issues with trade unionists but also drug production that even ends up in Canada. I would like to ask the member this. Why is it the Conservatives who pretend to be so tough on crime and drugs would want to engage in a privileged trading relationship with such a narco state?
November 17th, 2009
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: Final Hour of Debate on Right-to-Repair Bill C-273: Thank you to all who helped
November 17, 2009
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise today to support this motion. I want to begin by first thanking the member for Wellington—Halton Hills, the chair of our committee, the industry committee. I think it is very important for people to know that not only on this bill I think our committee is an example of the parliamentary process, for a number of different reasons. First and foremost, the chair provides a fair and balanced approach, which is appreciated for many other pieces of legislation also, as well as this one. I would also like to thank the member for Saint John who just spoke. It is important to recognize that when this bill went through its first vote in the House of Commons, it passed with a margin of 248 in favour. I thank all those members who considered the importance of this bill, and that is critical. I would also like to thank the parliamentary secretary, the member for Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont, because this has been very much a challenging issue. It has been three years that I have spent on this particular bill trying to get a result, hopefully, for Canadians. If it had not been for working through problems, I do not think we would actually see a solution, which is now the CASIS agreement, as noted earlier. This is a provision that is new to Canada, which is something that is important to recognize. It has been available in the United States. The Americans actually have a different system. They do have a system that is a national automotive service task force, but it is backstopped by legislation. I believe, though, that this bill is no longer necessary because there has been an agreement reached by all parties involved and I believe there will be enough public pressure on that . Also, I would recognize the fact that the current Minister of Industry took interest in this file, as well as the previous minister of industry, and I thank them for doing so in order to ensure that Canadian consumers are protected. I do want to impress upon people the importance of this bill, in terms of what it means. It is important not only just in terms of competition, but it means a cleaner environment and It also means public safety. What was happening in our country is that we were literally being treated as a colony, in many respects. We were being treated differently from the United States, Europe and other jurisdictions where new technology related to onboard diagnostics, computerization literally of the automobile, was not being successfully passed on to the aftermarket industry. The end result was that Canadians could not get the best service or competitive prices. What it meant for many of these aftermarket garages, many of which I visited across the country over a number of years across, is that we would literally see technicians in Canada who were better trained than those in the United States who could not successfully repair vehicles because they could not download a program, for example, which is a real quick and easy thing to do. They want to pay for it. They want to ensure it is done within the law. But at the same time, they were not provided it. Meanwhile, people in Windsor, Ontario, where I am from, could drive their cars over to Detroit, Michigan, and get the same type of service from somebody less trained because the information was being provided by that company. Quite frankly, there were some companies that were better than others. General Motors is better, in general, about providing this information. Ford has recently released more of its information, to comply with the spirit of the agreement which comes into effect later on, but will roll out, I hope, a very successful program. I believe that the minister, in this Parliament, will have a due diligence to ensure that Canadians are treated fairly past this date of this bill. It is very important when we look at the aftermarket to recognize its significance. It is over 200,000 jobs in Canada. I come from the auto sector, in terms of the auto industry, and Windsor being the auto capital of Canada where a bill like this would be seen with some type of curiosity because why would the member who represents the area of the auto market bring a bill where some of the auto companies were very opposed to it? The reason being that after we sat down and started talking to some of these small shop owners and to the consumers, we saw what was going to take place, that we were going to lose some very successful businesses across this country and that we were going to see people even the rural areas, even though I am in an urban area, have to drive literally hundreds of kilometres further to get their vehicles serviced because of unfair competition, in my perspective, with the unavailability of codes, training and diagnostic equipment that was being provided in other nations across the globe, and particularly the United States, our neighbour. That is why this bill came about, and I would like to thank my family for putting up with the travelling across the country to promote this. Also, I think of the people who have been part of this, and I do want to recognize a few. One of the first and foremost is Nancy and Roger Saranyi of Namao Automotive out of the Edmonton area, just outside of Edmonton. It was really interesting. We got a chance to really see the spirit of what was happening. They could not provide the same services they once did. When people go to their facility, it was clean as a whistle. The technicians were trained very well. It had been a family business for many years. They were slowly losing business related to the aftermarket because they could not get the same codes and equipment that were available before. In looking around facility, not only do we see vehicles that needed repair but we also other vehicles, like a school bus, an ambulance and other types of service vehicles. I saw them in Windsor as well when I went to visit John Sawatski of MSJ Automotive. We would have our Windsor police cruisers and ambulances in there. The loss of this other business puts these businesses at risk, and subsequently the service of other types of fleets of vehicles that we need a strong aftermarket for because they are not serviced through the normal dealership associations that are available. That is why I brought the bill forward in the previous Parliament, it was called Bill C-425 at that time, and it is now Bill C-273 in this Parliament. It was fortunate enough to be selected high on the order paper. It has been a great experience because I have learned more about Canadian business and the spirit of competition through this process than I ever thought I would. I would like to thank my staff who have put up with this as well. There is Mohummed Peer, Melanie Namespetra, Darlene Dunn Mahler, Karen Boyce, as well as Kieran McKenzie, and all the volunteers we have because we really worked with a team. This took a lot of extra resources. We worked as a group. Without their constant support, I would not have been able to go across the country. I think about people I met, like Art Wilderman from the Canadian Independent Automotive Association Bento from Toronto, and John Strikey of Midas Automotive in Halifax, Ron Jones of Mid-Island Automotive in Nanaimo, and Mario Schuchardt of Canadian Tire in Burnaby. I think about those people and they often represented people who did not have a voice in the previous process. The aftermarket association had been advocating for a change for many years, and in my opinion there had not been the respect paid to the industry that was necessary. Hence, the legislation was seen as the alternative, because they could not go any further. In particular I would like to thank a number of people from AIA: John Cochrane, Larry Goudge, Marc Brazeau, Deborah Monynes, Mireille Schippers, Patty Kettles, Christine Farquharson and Scott Smith, who I would like to say it is very important to recognize as he worked on this bill diligently and spent a lot of time away from his family as well. As well, from the association there were John Watt, Brad Morris and Mauro Cifelli. It was an interesting group to work with, because we saw medium and small businesses that banded together to be able to bring forth an issue. What we get with this agreement, the Canadian automotive service information standard is a voluntary agreement that I am hoping the minister will keep a strong eye on. I am sure it is going to come to fruition. There will now be a process in place for the disbursement of the information, the codes, the technical information for the equipment, as well as the training capability. It is very important that we recognize that none of this is to be provided for free. That is important because what they are asking for is the right to compete. That is why the bill has come forward. So there is now a process in place to regulate the actual advancement of the codes, the training and the technology. There is also a dispute mechanism, if there is a problem with regard to the releasing of that. Also, and this is really important, it is no longer going to be a dog's breakfast in terms of which company is going to provide information and when. There is going to be a process in place for fair competition for all Canadians, which is good for public safety, for the environment and for consumers to choose the right to repair.
November 3rd, 2009
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: Debate on Bill C-50 & Employment Insurance
November 3, 2009 – House of Commons Debates
Debate on Bill C-50 & Employment Insurance
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask my colleague a bit more on the John Deere situation. It is an interesting situation that reminds me of some of the poor planning that has happened in the manufacturing sector and the vulnerabilities that we currently still have. I would ask the member for Welland to elaborate on the John Deere situation, because there were good jobs that have now been lost. Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I am glad to rise and participate in the debate on Bill C-50 in the House of Commons. The employment rate in my riding of Windsor West in the last two years has been leading the nation and had historically high amounts prior to that. My region has been raising alarm bells for many years in the House with the previous Liberal administration and now the Conservatives that the lack of auto policy was going to cost us jobs. We had seen the erosion and now the drop-off at the cliff with regard to Canada moving from first in auto assembly to tenth. Bill C-50 is not going to particularly help the auto sector and workers too much, as the member for Welland noted quite correctly. I will support this bill because I know what it is like for families to go through time and a process where they run out of benefits and do not have the supports necessary. The effect it has not only on families but communities is terrible and is something that can be avoided. This bill has some elements that are positive and if we can cover 150,000 or 190,000 people for $1 billion, which is the estimated cost, or whatever it might be, then I am willing to vote for it because people in my community and I do not want people in this country have to through what we are going through right now. We are faced with even greater complications because not only do we have the loss of jobs but also the loss of an industry due to a lack of policy. I noted in my opening comments that there is no auto policy in Canada. The minister is finally convening CAPC this Friday, which is a good move. There will finally be some action there. The actual competition, which is the United States, has sprinted almost to the finish line with a new energy economy. In fact, it was not President Barack Obama but actually George W. Bush who set up a $25 billion fund for the U.S. auto industry prior to the sector's fallout and the repercussions that have taken place. As a consequence, Michigan, for example, will get two new car factories and four new battery factories because it has been very assertive in procuring the technology, development and evolution to make sure things happen. There are congratulations to extend to Ken Lewenza, president of the CAW, but there are also some difficulties. Once again, he has negotiated an investment in Windsor, Ontario for a new engine. Unfortunately, the St. Thomas plant in the London area is going to be closing. I am very concerned about the workers in that area. London is now quickly approaching the Windsor numbers for unemployment insurance. It is at 11%. What I am worried about is people continuing to fall off the system. This bill will help those who in the past have not had claims in the system. There are some older workers that this targets and that is very important. I have seem some of the fallacies of policies that have evolved especially with older workers where it is claimed that they just need retraining, everything will be fine and the market will settle itself. In my region there is tool and dye mould making, which is the best in the world, hands down. It actually engineered change to the industry and have led the world for many years. However, now jobs are being shed because of trade policy and the lack of enforcement of a number of trade issues such as dumping and the whole procurement process that leaves Canada many times outside the door. I would point to one in particular. The Department of National Defence shamelessly out-sourced a contract to Navistar International. It is actually building Canadian vehicles for our military in Texas, instead of Chatham, Ontario. Canadian men and women could have been working and we would have paid less unemployment insurance than to retool that factory, which was a small undertaking. Ironically, the trucks that our Canadian men and women could be building are now going to be built in Texas and our workers are sitting at home. It is unacceptable that this policy continues. That procurement was allowed under our current trade agreements, but we are the only nation that does not do it. The United States does this on a regular basis and it is unacceptable. I want to briefly talk about what we can do for employment insurance by increasing the benefits and what it means to individuals. They are able to save their homes, make sure their kids continue to go to school, pay the bills during difficult times and there is a sense of stability. We are making choices as a country about how we want to use our resources. This government and the previous administration had an EI surplus windfall of $57 billion provided by the workers and the actual companies and their contributions. To take that money away is nothing more than thievery. It is a slap in the face to all those who have paid into the system, especially when they need it at a time when we have an economic downturn like we have right now. Ironically, this downturn which was not brought on by workers, their wages and pensions, it was done by greed and mismanagement, often incubated in the U.S. housing market and other markets. It has now been turned on its head to be an attack on workers, wages and benefits, now what the new benefit descriptions have called a legacy cost which is absolute nonsense. When people sit down at the table and work with an employer and negotiate a pension instead of a wage increase, instead of benefit increase, that is a deferred wage that they were entitled to, that they should have. It is something they have actually sweated for and is something they actually deserve for them and their family later. It is important for this country to continue to work on its pensions. I am glad that as a New Democrat we have been able to move the ball on this issue as well. What could we do in terms of economic policy to change things around now, to provide the resources to expand the employment insurance system to make sure that people can continue to have their homes and be able to move forward and get some new employment? One of the things that has been missed in the public debate, and it is very interesting, is that this country has been lowering large corporate tax cuts since the year 2000. I commissioned a paper, because as things stand right now we are going from about 29% down to 15% by 2012. Independent of my own research, I had the Library of Parliament, economists and other supports through the Library of Parliament that every member of Parliament here is entitled to, run the numbers on estimates in terms of what it cost in the year 2000 to today in terms of corporate tax cut reductions. Then, on top of that, what it is going to cost from today to 2012 to bring us down to the 15%. Interestingly enough, the first wave from 2000 to today, about two months ago, is $85 billion in terms of overall revenue that we have foregone as a country, that we no longer have for a number of different measures. Now, the second wave that is still coming up is going to cost us $86 billion. It is another $86 billion that is going to be necessary. What is interesting is the government is right now borrowing money from future generations to provide a corporate tax cut for the oil and gas companies, some of the pharmaceutical companies, and the insurance companies, those profitable industries that do not need this type of incentive, that will not change the way they have their operations in the market. It will be a loss of revenue that not only we will not have to spend currently on targeting different industrial areas, but also we will have to pay back with interest. We are borrowing at record lows right now, .25%. So it is going to be interesting if later on, over the years, when we pay this off, especially if we are in a structural deficit, which I believe we are because we have gutted our capacity to get out of this economic downturn quite significantly. All we have to do is point to the fact that everybody is hoping for a market recovery and for shares to go up based upon speculation on the price of oil and other things, but our unemployment rates still climb. I can say that even if we get some recovery, like the Ford plant, and the new investment that was done by the CAW at negotiations at the table, in isolation, the government was not there, they have been able to increase some jobs but it is not to the volume that historically we would have had to pull ourselves out of the system. For the automotive sector in particular, this is a structural change. It is not a cyclical one. We are going to see some problems in terms of the overall recovery. One of the things that Canadians need to understand right now is, why on earth would we not cease the large corporate tax cuts at this point in time? As we have shed record amounts of manufacturing jobs across Ontario and Quebec, obviously lowering the corporate tax cuts has not worked. Obviously for those industries that are under attack because of other economic policies from other countries as well as trade issues, they are not preserving the actual jobs. In fact we are shrinking them anyways. We need to turn that, and have good sectoral strategies. One of the things we can do is invest in green technology, not only just for the consumer element but also research and development. That is going to require investment. Where does that come from? I would suggest that one of the first things we should do is stop borrowing from our children to provide corporate tax cuts to the corporations that do not need it right now. Let us put that back into their future, so that they can actually be part of the solution instead of this continued policy of the problem. Mr. Brian Masse: Mr. Speaker, I do not know if it is continued arrogance or even not understanding or appreciating what Canadians are going through. It does not make any sense. However, he is correct in noting the $57 billion that was in the fund. Now, an unfortunate repercussion of the government's new policy to CFIB board of a $2 billion fund that is already exhausted, we are going to see payroll taxes increase. The Parliamentary Budget Review Officer has already done that. The member for Outremont did a good job for our side on that. Ironically, what we are going to have--and this is why I spent some time on the corporate tax cut reductions when the auto sector has been reeling and will not benefit right now from that type of policy--is that this payroll tax will also be an additional tax on those companies that are struggling right now. So, the forestry sector, the auto sector, the manufacturing sector, any of those sectors that are actually struggling right now, will actually have a new tax introduced on them so that they are going to actually be subsidizing, once again, the banks, the oil industry, and the other types of institutions that are doing quite well. It makes no sense to actually bring in this type of policy at this point in time because it would further prohibit economic development. I can tell members the investors for the auto sector and for the manufacturing sector are looking at these types of policies. They are not necessarily looking at the overall corporate tax cut reduction. Just look at the fact I mentioned about Michigan and how they have been procuring plants much more significantly than we have here. The finance minister can brag all he wants about having it down to 15% by 2012 and saying that right now we have a better rate than the United States. The reality is that jobs are going somewhere else. In fact, in Michigan, they have also done a number of things in their sector.They are now competing for our film industry. They took an old auto facility and have actually made it into a mecca for film. The economic development is going to be quite significant. It is going to actually compete against Toronto. We have a number of industries that we are losing out because there are other types of programs and services being offered by our competitor to the south. All we can do over here is just say, “We have a lower corporate tax rate and so you should come over here”. The reality is that they have actually been getting the rebound, not ourselves. That is very troubling because some of the stuff that is actually developing, for example, in the auto sector is new technology, and not only is it the overall assembly of that new technology at the high level, at tier one, being the actual production of vehicles, it is a changing industry for the parts and supply development of this new technology. The clustering of those new facilities will often go around the new development, or might go there as opposed to retooling in Canada, which would be necessary to service this new type of investment that is happening in the United States. Because often, in the past, at least if anything, if a plant went to the United States, we would feed off it from parts and services, similar to them, between Ohio, Michigan and Ontario. However, now, with some of the new emerging technology my concern, and it is being validated, is that the parts sector will be more vulnerable than ever before because Americans are looking at whether they should retool or just actually build new facilities in the United States to supply these new plants, and that would cost Canadian taxpayers significantly and communities very significantly. One only has to look at the corridor region from London to Windsor, Ontario. As I noted, London is up to over 11% unemployment right now. We have to ask those members, where is the policy? We have been pushing for this policy all along. Once again, I do thank the minister for at least convening CAPSI on Friday, but it is not enough. What the U.S. has done is a $25 million policy of low-interest loans. What we have to match in Canada is a $50 million policy over five years for $250 million. Ironically, that money, the industry knows, came from a new tax that the government put on the auto sector. A new tax provides for the incentive that they put out there at the end of the day and they do not accept that at all.
October 23rd, 2009
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: Brian Masse Questions Industry Minister Clement on Bill C-27, the Anti-Spam Bill
October 22nd, 2009
MASSE DEMANDS CONSUMER PROTECTION & INTERNET COMPETITION:Government must withdraw C-27 amendment and overturn CRTC decision
October 21st, 2009
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: Speaking on Border Concerns and the proposed Name Change for Huntington Border Crossing
October 20th, 2009
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: Speaking on Bill to Create National Philanthropy Day November 15 Annually - Honours Local Philanthropists
40th PARLIAMENT, 2nd SESSION Tuesday, October 20, 2009 Private Members' Business [Private Members' Business] * * * National Philanthropy Day Act Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, one important thing to recognize with respect to philanthropy is that some large generous donations have been provided by Canadians across the country, but our current tax structure actually reduces what people would get back at tax time because donations are tied to the income tax rates. We have actually reduced what people get back for a charitable donation.
October 19th, 2009
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: Speaking on Bloc Opposition Day about Auto Industry Concerns
OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD) Monday, October 19, 2009 Government Orders [Business of Supply] * * * Business of Supply Opposition Motion—Forestry Industry Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Madam Speaker, the auto sector has been mentioned a number of times. Coming from an auto sector town, I would like to ask an important question when we look at the overall situation that took place.
October 6th, 2009
MINISTER OF HEALTH FLU VACCINE LETTER: Response to Constituents about Forced Vaccines
As promised in my recent mailing to Windsor West, I am copying below the text from the Minister of Health's Office regarding the upcoming flu season vaccinations. Many residents have asked me to find out whether Canadians will be forced to receive flu vaccinations. This letter from the Minister's Chief of Staff clearly states that immunization is not mandatory in Canada.
September 30th, 2009
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: Foreign Investment and the Sale of Nortel
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I am glad to participate in tonight's continued discussion that we are having with the question that I raised in the House of Commons on May 12 related to Nortel and the takeover by Ericsson. Many Canadians know that this iconic company Nortel has struggled in the last couple of years and the end result is it went into bankruptcy and to auction. Sadly, we witnessed the loss of Canadian technology, research and development and with this foreign takeover I asked the minister that day to look at the Foreign Investment Act. There are a couple of thresholds that are important. There is the threshold of $312 million in terms of net value where the minister must intervene. There is also a new national security clause that was introduced. What is interesting about the national security clause is it was something that I was after since 2002, being here with China Minmetals looking that it was a state government of China buying Canadian oil sands projects and opposed that. Actually we have a non-democratic government buying Canadian companies. We finally did get a change to the actual legislation, the Foreign Investment Canada Act, but it was done in a budget bill. That meant it did not have the proper parliamentary review that would normally be done for a bill. It did not go through the committee. It did not have witnesses. It did not have debate in the House of Commons aside from that in the budget bill. It is actually quite an Americanization of our legislation here in Canada because they have a similar system where they add riders to a government or spending bill that has legislative changes and this is the way the government had done a couple of things such as the Immigration Act and now this, the Foreign Investment Canada Act. Unfortunately, it has now even resulted in some weaknesses that we saw evident in this case. In this case it was interesting because Ericsson had purchased the assets from Nortel for $1.13 billion and then turned around later on and said the net value of that is less than the $312 million. To make sure that viewers understand this correctly, it paid over $1 billion for something that it then later on argue is a lot less including under the threshold of the $312 million. So that was a significant departure from the purchase price to what it is saying the net value is. Later on the minister bought that and dismissed it outright. Second, the minister has dismissed the national security clause. What is interesting is that we had testimony for one day. We as New Democrats would have had more testimony but we were thwarted. I cannot say what happened at in camera meetings, but I can say that Liberals approached me through the leader's office about having more hearings. I cannot say whether I had that support at committee, but we only had one day of hearings, unfortunately, that left the pensioners out. What is really important is that in the United States a Canadian company, Certicom, based in Canada and bought by RIM in Canada, staying in Canada where the sale was actually reviewed by the United States government. Meanwhile, over here in Canada, LT Technology which is a fourth generation company and is going to move ahead of BlackBerry and other devices through the Internet an exchange of information as being dismissed outright. That was disappointing. I would like to see the government reverse its position and to examine the national security clause and make sure that this review is going to take place because we have so many workers at risk. Canadians have subsidized this research, development and technology and it needs a thorough review before we give this Canadian technology away.
September 29th, 2009
Masse Questions Industry Minister Clement on Right-to-Repair
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, today the industry minister admitted that there is a problem in the auto repair market. I thank him for finally coming to that realization years later. Not bad for his track record, to be quite frank. However, he accepted a non-binding manufacturers agreement that will not protect consumers, does not ensure competition, is completely unenforceable. It is not worth the paper it is written on. The House voted overwhelmingly for a legislative solution like in Europe and the United States. Can the minister explain why Canadians are not going to get the same consumer, environmental and public safety protections as citizens of those other countries? Why does he think Canadians are second rate?
September 18th, 2009
Supreme Court stands up for consumers—bails out Conservatives: Masse declares a victory for Consumers as the Supreme Court acts to rectify price gouging
September 18th, 2009
MASSE QUESTIONS INDUSTRY MINISTER ON SALE OF NORTEL
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): And they are proud of that legislation being passed, Mr. Speaker. The Minister of Industry claims there are no national security concerns with the foreign takeover of Nortel. How can he know this when a review which involves multiple agencies did not happen? Let us be clear there is no threshold when it comes to a national security review. When RIM purchased the company Certicom, it was reviewed by the United States. This Canadian firm purchased a Canadian company, in Canada, and the U.S. reviewed it. No wonder the U.S. does not take our government's security plans seriously. Canadian taxpayers have contributed millions, if not billions, in Nortel. Why is the minister abandoning Canadian taxpayers and abandoning decisions about research and technology's cutting edge to foreign interests?
September 17th, 2009
MASSE ON CORPORATE TAX CUTS IN PARLIAMENT
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for all the work he has done on this. It certainly is not the full buildup we want, but it is a start. One thing that is going to be raised is how we can afford this $1 billion bill. I want to point out and ask for his comments regarding what is happening with the redistribution of the Canadian economy. The Conservatives and Liberals have voted to reduce corporate tax cuts right now so that in 2012 they will be down to 15%. I had the parliamentary research division do an analysis of what that is going to cost. The division consists of independent economists and they are projecting that it is going to cost Canadian taxpayers an additional $86 billion. I remind the public that as these tax cuts are taking place and we have a deficit, we are borrowing money from ourselves and our children to give tax cuts to profitable companies, like the banks, the oil industry, the pharmaceutical companies, and at the same time other struggling industries do not get any benefit whatsoever. I would like to ask my colleague whether we should be again looking at freezing those large corporate tax cuts and redirecting some of that money back as stimulus to workers to make sure we expand the actual provisions for communities. That is one of the opportunities we still have to seize. If not, we will have to continue to borrow money, which we will have to pass on to our children, for tax cuts for corporations.
September 17th, 2009
Masse Tables Petition of Canadians Opposed to the Proposed Canada-Colombia Free Trade Deal
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I am proud to rise to support this petition which is against the Canada-Colombia trade deal. The House has been debating the issue of Canada entering into a privileged trading relationship with a narco-state that has a history of murder against civil society members who have tried to unionize and provide a better life for many citizens. The petitioners are calling for a commission to be completed first to look at the human rights issues before Canada enters into that privileged trading relationship with such a state.
September 15th, 2009
MASSE DEBATES THE PROPOSED CANADA-COLOMBIA FREE TRADE DEAL
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I would be pleased to ask my colleague a question. I want to make sure that we start this correctly. Could he outline some of the sidebar agreements that this deal has that are very unusual and also create some concern? The environment and labour practices in particular have been dominant in this agreement. Put on the side, they will allow for greater exploitation. Why would the Government of Canada go into a privileged trading relationship? It is very important that we define that. We currently have trade with Colombia and we will continue to have trade with Colombia, but by agreeing to this type of a deal in the way that it is struck right now, we will be moving to a privileged trading relationship with a government that has had labour and civil society problems that have not been rectified. Why the government would continue down that road with sidebar agreements is very disturbing and I would like the member to describe some of those elements. Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, Mauricio Vasquez was a teacher union activist in Colombia who was killed. It is very disturbing that it is not just the hard industry union activists that are being killed in Colombia, it is civil society, like teachers. I would like to ask my colleague if that deepens her concerns when civil society, like nurses and teachers who organize for public services, are assassinated in Colombia. Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I was a little surprised by the description of the auto industry by the member for Oakville. We need to clarify here something very important. The auto pact that Canada signed with the United States was actually destroyed by our free trade agreement with the United States. Canada has slipped from fourth in world assembly to tenth. Subsequently we have lost further market share, so there is an important distinction to recognize here. The member's reference about the jobs to Mexico used to be done in Canada. The member might want to talk to the member for Chatham-Kent—Essex about the Navistar international truck plant in his riding that is closing because the work has been moved to Texas by his own government which is actually procuring a truck deal for $200 million. It decided to allow that to be done in Texas instead of Chatham, sending those workers home. On top of that, some of that work as well has been moved to Mexico, so that it important. What does the member believe is going to hold Colombia to account when we have had another 27 union activists killed there, civil society members including teachers, when we do not really have a case, after we sign this deal we will have no more stick to put pressure on the Colombian government for reform?
September 14th, 2009
MASSE DEBATES PROPOSED CANADA-COLOMBIA FREE TRADE IN PARLIAMENT
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I see that the House has already resumed with Conservative heckling from the very moment that we get going here again. Some things do not change. Unfortunately we are seeing the bill re-emerge as well which is a big concern. Bill C-23 is a bill that would bring a trade agreement between Canada and Colombia. The bill is about providing a privileged trade agreement to Colombia. It is not about the issue of fear of a trade in general and free trade. It is about providing privileged access to the Canadian markets and as well Canada entering into another deeper relationship with Colombia which on the surface we should pursue trade agreements there is no doubt about that. However what is disturbing about this bill is we are doing so with a country that has had a significant problem with murder, with crime and a series of problems related to even civil society and the economics of its nation that have not yet been addressed. Sadly, since the last time I spoke there has been approximately 27 more trade unionists killed in Colombia. I had an opportunity to discuss this at committee, questioning the Colombian representation at that time about the number of different leaders who were assassinated in their actual state. We were not talking about union activists from forestry or mining. We were talking about people who were part of their civil society. They were leaders of their nursing association, their teachers association and university associations who were killed. I asked about specific cases. Interestingly enough everything was a crime of passion from a nation that has had thousands of assassinations of people who were just fighting for basic human and worker rights. A continuation of the explanation was that these were personal problems that delved into the actual fact of being assassinated, be it in their homes, be it in the streets, be it somewhere else and at work even. That is unacceptable. This is why I am surprised that we are coming back to the bill at this point. I know that the Liberals have vacillated on this issue. At first they were very supportive of the bill, supporting the government in moving it forward. Then at the same time there was a big push back. Thousands of Canadians petitioned against this deal right now saying that we need to have some further resolve of the Colombian government's protection of its citizens before we would even entertain this type of deeper relationship. Once again it is a privileged relationship. It would be different than we do for most nations. Then the LIberals changed their position apparently which is interesting because it was supposed to be a confidence matter. Now I guess they are showing more confidence in the government again. I do not understand how this place works any more. It seems every day there is a different story. It appears the Liberals are going to support this measure which disturbing. What we would rather see is a resolution of some of these problems so that the trade organizations, civil society members and the Colombian people can be supported and the government could be rewarded eventually by a trade agreement but not before it resolved these very serious issues. Some of the names may not mean much to some people but Tique Adolfo was murdered recently; Arango Alberto was murdered; Pinto Alexander was murdered; Carreno Armando was murdered; Franco Franco Victor was murdered; Rodriguez Pablo was murdered. This is interesting when we talk about someone like Rodriguez Pablo he was a teacher who was killed. This is what really disturbs me about the way we are approaching this. I am glad I had a chance to read some of the names into the record because at least they will be remembered in that way in the context that my country would enter a privileged trading relationship with a government that continues to allow people in its civil society, including teachers, to be murdered for the beliefs and values that they stand for. If we want to have an open and free democratic society and we want to have a fair trade agreement with Columbia I say it is time to tell its government no right now, clean up its house, get things in order, make sure that the people in its civil society and its working class can actually do the work that is necessary to make sure that it advances the country. Let us not reward Colombia first. We need to make sure that we stand strong right now. Mr. Brian Masse: Mr. Speaker, I have nothing to apologize for or clarify. This nation has been too well versed in history and understands the seriousness of the nature of the problems there. There has been a continuation of public policy there that has not protected people who stand for ordinary citizens. I am ashamed that Canada would defend that type of approach. I think it is extremely important for our country to stand strong. We are not just talking about mining and different types of industries that have had historical conflict. We are talking about people who are teachers and who organize society. The government is supposed to support them, yet they continue to have problems. I simply cannot stand by and witness that and pretend by a distance that it is not something serious. It needs to be addressed. My response to the minister is that we should send a much stronger language back to them to show that if they are going to have a privileged trade agreement with Canada it is going to come with conditions. We have trade agreements with them. This is a privileged trade agreement. The conditions are that the people in their society are going to be protected. Mr. Brian Masse: Mr. Speaker, it is shocking. We have obvious evidence of drug cartels tied with those who are part of the governing body. It is something that needs to have further examination. It should not be one that the minister distances himself from. He should be further delving into that relationship and doing the work necessary to make sure that things are going to be approached in a very professional and appropriate manner. However, what we have here is an ideological drive by the Conservatives to bring in a trade agreement with Colombia. Once again, this is a privileged trade agreement. Nothing right now would affect the trade agreements that we have and the trade that is happening between our two countries. This is a privileged trade agreement that we would bring in. Why would we not be working with other nations and have them progressing on human rights and moving forward in ways that are open for democracy versus that of rewarding a country and then hoping later on that they do something? It is interesting. In this privileged trade agreement, we have sidebar issues for the environment, multinationals and trade unionism. That clouds the issue and provides a greater cover for those who do not want to follow the rules to break them and not have consequences. Why we would want to structure our agreement to a regime of that nature that has those connections is beyond me. It just shows how weak the Conservatives truly are on the drug issue. Mr. Brian Masse: Mr. Speaker, one of the interesting things about the NAFTA agreement, our trade agreement with the United States, is that we have actually seen on their side of the border a progression to understanding that for us to compete in a global economy, often the environment as well as labour and other types of issues are used against us. They are used against us because other countries are able to exploit the environment, exploit workers, exploit women and exploit children. We have seen a progression in the United States to identify that if we are to compete in the world market, other countries have to raise their levels to be able to ship into and dump into our markets when they are exploiting children or exploiting labour, whether it be women, the activists or the environment, is something we should contest. There should be a voice raised against this because we are not doing ourselves any good and we are not doing those countries any good by allowing those conditions. That is important, because our country still seems to be stuck in a rut, and if we deregulate everything and have no standards, we will actually do better. The reality is that deregulation is allowed , not only in terms of the poisoning of our food, we have lost companies because of that. They have gone to other districts where there is fair competition as opposed to those companies that want to use the environment or labour practises as a subsidy, and they do well. Other companies have moved away from that. There is an understanding that the North American market has to shift. Once again, there needs to be more scrutiny on those products and services that not only come from here, but also those that are actually shipped and dumped into our markets that will have standards to them, because if we do not do that, we are not even helping the people from those countries. All we are doing is allowing the continuation of abuse and a pattern of behaviour that will not sustain this planet, nor will it sustain the workers and many people out there. I say to the government, let us use this as an example to Colombia. The carrot and the stick approach is one thing we can do. If they raise their standards, if they solve these issues, if they worked on them and we monitored them and put them on an approach that will take these concerns away, then we can move into a privileged trade agreement. Why give them a privileged trade agreement right now when we know the abuses are still there? They are historic enough in this century and are significant beyond even just Canada; they are international. Why would we do that? Why would we send the message to the rest of the world that we are willing to do business under these regimes' terms and conditions, versus what we should be doing? Canada is doing the exact opposite. Mr. Brian Masse: It speaks for itself, Mr. Speaker, in a sense. We are entering into a new agreement with the narco-economy. That is it. That is what we are asking our country to do right now. I oppose that. I think there needs to be other provisions and there has some work done to help Colombia progress to a better position, but it has not worked yet. Why would we enter into a trade agreement with the narco-economy, I ask the Liberal member? Why would we want to engage in a narco-economy?
August 27th, 2009
MASSE TO LAUNCH SREBRENICA REMEMBRANCE DAY CAMPAIGN & MOTION
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE August 27, 2009
MASSE TO LAUNCH SREBRENICA REMEMBRANCE DAY CAMPAIGN
Windsor, ON – Brian Masse M.P., NDP Industry, Automotive, and Border Critic will be holding a rally along with the Canadian Bosniak community and supporters to launch the campaign for a Srebrenica Remembrance Day. Masse will be making public the motion he will present to the House of Commons in the upcoming fall session. Imam Dr. Zijad Delic (see backgrounder for more information) and Mr. Emir Ramic, President of the Congress of North American Bosniaks-Canada, will speak. Media availability will follow the speeches and the event.
August 15th, 2009
MASSE IN THE NEWS: Repair bill; NDPs want automakers to share all service information with shops
PUBLICATION: The Chronicle-Herald DATE: 2009.08.15 SECTION: Front PAGE: A1 BYLINE: Patricia Brooks Arenburg Staff Reporter ILLUSTRATION: Midas shop foreman Kenny Pickles uses a scan tool on aToyota in the company's repair shop on Friday.; Ontario NDP MP Brian Masse speaks with Midas automotive technicians in the company's repair shop Friday in Halifax. Masse has introduced a bill that would force auto manufacturers to provide auto repair shops with all the information necessary to service vehicles. At Masse's left is Sackville-Eastern Shore MP Peter Stoffer and at right, Megan Leslie, NDP MP for Halifax. (Photos by Tim Krochak / Staff) WORD COUNT: 650
August 15th, 2009
MASSE IN THE NEWS: Nortel Sale To Ericsson Stirs Protest In Canada
IDNUMBER 200908150028 PUBLICATION: The New York Times DATE: 2009.08.15 EDITION: Late Edition - Final SECTION: Business/Financial PAGE: 1 ILLUSTRATION: PHOTOS: James Balsillie, left, and Michael Lazaridis, co-chiefexecutives of Research in Motion, say Nortel's patents should stay in Canada.(PHOTOGRAPH BY MIKE CASSESE/REUTERS) ; Nortel's Carling campus in Ottawa. Once Canada's largest company, Nortel is now bankrupt and its businesses are shrinking.(PHOTOGRAPH BY BLAIR GABLE/REUTERS)(B5) ; DATELINE: OTTAWA BYLINE: IAN AUSTEN COPYRIGHT: © 2009 by the New York Times Company WORD COUNT: 1169
August 12th, 2009
Letter from Brian Masse to Ontario Minister of Health Regarding the Ontario Addiction Treatment Centre (OATC) in Windsor
August 12, 2009
Honourable David Caplan, Minister of Health Queen’s Park Toronto, Ontario M7A 1A2
Dear Minister Caplan,
I am writing you today concerning the opening of a branch of the Ontario Addiction Treatment Centre (OATC), a private for profit medical corporation, in the City of Windsor. This new development has created significant concern in the community and raised serious questions that need to be addressed.
August 7th, 2009
Masse Requests Answers from Minister Van Loan regarding US Border Surveillance over Sarnia, Ontario
August 6, 2009
Honourable Peter Van Loan Minister of Public Safety House of Commons Ottawa, ON
Dear Minister Van Loan,
I am writing you today concerning the deployment of a fixed placed surveillance balloon in Port Huron, Michigan which is causing significant public consternation and raising important privacy and sovereignty issues.
July 16th, 2009
KENNEY ADDS TO TROUBLING TUMBLE IN TOURISM: Visa decision worsens tourism industry woes
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE JULY 16, 2009
KENNEY ADDS TO TROUBLING TUMBLE IN TOURISM: Visa decision worsens tourism industry woes
OTTAWA – The number of Mexican tourists visiting Canada in May dropped by 25 percent from a year earlier, an alarming decline that will only accelerate because of the new visa requirements imposed this week, said New Democrat Industry and Border Critic Brian Masse.
June 1st, 2009
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: Masse Questions the Minister on Border Concerns and the Tourism Industry
Hansard – June 1, 2009 Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, today the Canada-U.S. border became thicker. The U.S. passport policy that took effect today will cause travel delays, gouge Canadians and damage our tourism industry. The present Prime Minister hoisted a white flag instead of the Canadian flag when he first agreed to this policy on March 31, 2006 with President Bush himself. His record of advocacy was best exemplified when former Presidents Bush and Clinton spoke in Toronto last Friday. They were not even aware of this new passport policy. This from the policy's architect. Could the minister tell us why he would accept a border policy that threatens our Canadian tourism industry and jobs when he is not even being taken seriously? Hon. Peter Van Loan (Minister of Public Safety, CPC): On the contrary, Mr. Speaker. In no way did we accept the policy. In fact, we worked very effectively once we became government to try and correct the deficiencies that were allowed to arise under the previous government. We did that in a number of ways: by putting in place a number of extensions on implementation of the western hemisphere travel initiative; by creating the opportunity to utilize alternative documents such as an enhanced driver's licence. We actually engaged the Americans in a way that no other party did, and in doing so we were able to significantly advance Canadians' interests. We will continue to do that on a number of fronts because our relationship and our trade across that border is very important.
May 25th, 2009
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: Debate on the Proposed Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, it does not make it right. That does not justify her course of action or the course of this House of Commons that just because evil is propagated against others, that should justify us entering into an agreement where clearly there are significant problems with human rights activity and there is an organized, orchestrated campaign to intimidate those of the citizenry population who want to better their society and have done so in an open and accountable way. It has led to much suffering, and having had a chance to question some of the Colombian delegation at committee, I have not been satisfied with their response. I brought up four specific cases of civil liberty union organizers. They were not, for example, from the mines, where we would expect there to be some activism, or the farming community, where there have been issues with the drug cartels. I brought up cases of the school teacher's union, the nursing association and universities, where even in Bogota and other places like that where there is that type of structure, those citizens who had become union organizers to defend the interests of their neighbours, their friends and their families were killed. The response I got from the Colombian embassy was rather unique. In all those cases, the vast majority of which have never been brought to trial in Colombia, which they admitted, they claimed that they were all crimes of passion. What they meant by crimes of passion was that those individuals were in relationships that somehow did not work out, and the spouses, partners or people in their lives had killed them because of that dispute. I find that response really a condemnation of justice, of a parliamentary committee trying to get to the bare bones of things and investigate things. It is a very dismissive approach, that those cases would not be respected. I cannot believe that that was the response I got. However we need to step back from some of this, from our side here in Canada, and hear from some of the individuals from Colombia. I have an interesting quote from an individual. “If Canada were to assess the real impact of trade deals on the lives of Colombians, I believe it would change its mind on the advisability of continuing negotiation”, says Bishop Juan Alberto Cardona of the Methodist Church of Colombia. He goes on to say, because the government is using it to justify its approach and to gain credibility in the international community: “So naturally the government is desperate for a deal with Canada. It's like a stamp of approval”, says the bishop, “but we say stop the killing of innocent Colombians, disarm the paramilitaries and protect human rights before any deals are made”. Given the massive investment by the United States government and of Canada through CIDA in other types of trade which are actually occurring, surely the situation has not gotten to the point where we should just give them a free ride. It is important to note that we are trading with Colombia. We have been trading with Colombia during a time of record assassinations of citizens and people. What we are saying is this free trade deal right now is wrong and we need to have that independent analysis that the committee has so requested. That is the reasonable approach here, to ask whether they have been able to bridge the gap successfully to allow these issues to be part of an overall structure and plan, not side deals. Side deals on the environment and on human rights abuses are just that. They show the real fact, which is they do not matter because if they really mattered, they would be in the deal to begin with. They would be conditions to which we could actually hold the government accountable, and we could ensure that those people with whom we are supposed to be growing a relationship are going to get the natural defence and the rule of law applied to them and their families. That is what we are talking about. The Methodist bishop from Colombia is quite right in pointing out that the interests of this deal are really thrust upon an elite group of citizens and the corporate agenda of large corporations that would benefit from it.
May 14th, 2009
MASSE DECLARES VICTORY AS ‘RIGHT-TO-REPAIR’ BILL PASSES IN HOUSE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE MAY 13, 2009
MASSE DECLARES VICTORY AS ‘RIGHT-TO-REPAIR’ BILL PASSES IN HOUSE
OTTAWA - Today, New Democrat Industry and Auto Sector Critic Brian Masse declared a victory for consumers, the environment and public safety as the his legislation, Bill C-273 (the Right to Repair), passed the second reading vote in House of Commons.
May 11th, 2009
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: Masse's Speech at the 2nd Hour of Debate on Bill C-273, Right-to-Repair
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I first want to start by thanking all members for participating in this debate at first and second readings. I am bringing their thoughts forward as well. It is an important part of what has been happening. This issue has been around for a number of years. It did not just happen now. In fact I have had this bill for a couple of years, researching it, going across this country and looking at it. The former minister of industry is joining us here today. He took an interest in the bill and I am sure if he would have remained as minister of industry, perhaps Bill C-273 would not have been necessary. We are here today because there is a problem with our current system and if we continue to ignore it, it affects the environment, it affects consumer choice and it also affects public safety. That is what Bill C-273 attempts to address. I want to touch upon a couple of things that are important to outline which have been part of the debate here but on which we need to be clear. There are voluntary agreements in the Canadian automotive industry right now, but they are all still based on the Consumer Protection Act. This is about bringing a bill forward that is actually going to be specifically addressing the issue through Canadian government legislation. We have to be clear. In the United States, under the EPA, because of its environmental laws, it created an operating agreement with the original manufacturers, so there is a clear definition there. The United States legislation creates the operating agreement for its solution there, which still needs some work on it and has some issues but at least it is available to them. In Canada, we do not have a voluntary agreement. We do not have a legislative agreement. We have nothing. I know that NATA, the National Automotive Trades Association, has promised to have a solution, but it is important to recognize that all they can do is promise that they might have a voluntary agreement, and they are saying by 2010 at best. It is not worth the paper it is printed on. It is worthless because at the end of the day, there could be manufacturers that opt in or opt out at different times and resolution processes are not actually available through any type of legislation. It is also very important not to forget that the automobile industry right now is revolutionizing in many respects. There are also the new entrants into the market. How can we have a voluntary agreement that would be based upon a group of businesses right now that are all foreign companies? They would have no Canadian legislative backstop to deal with any types of problems. There will be other ones, for example, in China as they emerge into the Canadian market with the Chery. China has over 100 different automotive assembly companies. Not all of them will get into our market but some will, and they could decide not to get into some type of agreement. What it does is dissipate the reality of having a rules-based system that is fair, open and transparent. The Competition Bureau would then be the arbitrator. The rules could be applied and there would be fairness. There is a whole process in place that could evolve. That is why we want to see this get to committee. We want to see Canadians have the same opportunity. It is really important for Canadians to understand that right now, as things stand, one would get different treatment in the United States than in Canada, and it is based on nothing more than the fact that they have just chosen not to bring this forward to the Canadian public at this particular time. It is interesting to note, when we look at our Canadian technicians in the after-market, that those men and women have the same training as those in the dealerships, unless they get additional training later on. They have to go through the same type of schooling that is available. In fact our standards in Canada are better. Ironically, one could be taking a trip to the United States, have something go wrong with the car and go to a facility to have it repaired by a technician with fewer qualifications than one in Canada. We are denied that because they cannot download the proper program,or some type of schooling or training is not available because the company chooses not to provide that. That is not fair. That is not healthy and that is one of the reasons that we want to deal with this. It is for the environment, to make sure vehicles are going to be clean and well maintained. It is for public safety, that they are going to fixed and in good operating condition, especially in rural communities where they have to drive hundreds of kilometres to get to an actual facility. It is also for the consumer's right to choose. Therefore we are hopeful that this will go to committee. I appreciate the fact that there has been a lot of input both from those who have concerns about the bill and those who are supporting it, and I look forward to working with everyone to make sure we have a fair, rules-based system based on Canadian legislation that protects Canadians.
May 11th, 2009
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: Masse Congratulates the Windsor Spitfires on their Victory!
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, on Friday night the Windsor Spitfires capped off an incredible playoff run with a 2-1 overtime win over the Brampton Battalion to win their first OHL championship in 21 years. Only one season removed from the tragic loss of their tremendous captain Mickey Renaud, the Spits, under the skilled leadership of a remarkable ownership group and the unwavering support of the community, have christened the Windsor Family Credit Union Centre in its first season as the home of the Windsor Spitfires with the J. Ross Robertson Cup. I would like to congratulate owners Peter Dobric, Warren Rychel and Bob Boughner, who have led this proud franchise back to prominence. The member for Windsor—Tecumseh and I wish them and the entire organization the best of luck in the Memorial Cup. The Spitfires have the support of the community behind them. Go Spits go!
May 6th, 2009
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: Petition Calling on the Government to Protect Workers' Pensions
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, the last petition I wish to present today is signed by thousands of Canadians and it relates to Canadian pension funds. Drastic things are happening right now with respect to the economy and Canadians are at risk. The petitioners call upon the Parliament of Canada to protect workers' pension funds by extending to employee pension obligations super priority preferred creditor protection in cases of bankruptcy or court mandated restructuring. The petitioners urge the government to establish a pension guarantee agency equivalent in operation to the institutes that exist in the United States of America at the federal level. By the volume of signatures, Canadians are concerned about their protection and they want the government to act.
May 6th, 2009
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: Petition for Government of Canada to Protect Falun Gong Practitioners
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): My next petition, Mr. Speaker, relates to Falun Gong practitioners and organ harvesting. The petitioners are protesting the fact that the Chinese government is targeting these individuals. The petitioners are calling upon the Government of Canada to have a stronger presence to ensure that these individuals will be protected and this behaviour will cease. The petitioners are calling on the Canadian government to help stop the atrocities by condemning the Communist regime for committing these crimes against humanity; urge the Chinese regime to end the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners and release all Falun Gong practitioners immediately; take active measures to help stop the mass killing and organ harvesting of Falun Gong participants; and discourage Canadians from travelling to China for organ transplants.
May 6th, 2009
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: Petition to Amend the Employment Insurance Act for Better Benefits for Laid Off Canadians
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, the second petition I wish to present contains hundreds of signatures and it relates to the crisis in employment insurance. The petitioners call upon the Parliament of Canada to deal with the crisis affecting many industries, including the auto industry in my riding. The petitioners are asking the Government of Canada for a qualification requirement of 360 hours for EI benefits in all regions of Canada; an increase in benefit duration to at least 50 weeks in all regions of Canada; elimination of the two week waiting period; benefits that are at least 60% of normal earnings; use of the 12 best weeks of employment; and suspension of the allocation of severance pay. The petitioners are also suggesting more flexible and innovative use of EI work sharing to keep people at work. The present economy is costing these petitioners so much.
May 6th, 2009
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: Petition on the Crisis in Sri Lanka
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I have four petitions which I would like to present to the House today. The first petition calls attention to the situation in Sri Lanka. The petitioners note that the lives of 200,000 to 250,000 Tamils currently in the combat zone are at risk. The petitioners call upon the Government of Canada to use every diplomatic means possible to call for a ceasefire and to work with the international community to ensure that the Sri Lanka government stops its military attacks and ensure that the civilian population can be moved out. The petitioners also want to make sure that there is a strong UN position to end the violence.
May 4th, 2009
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: Masse Speaks on S-2, An Act to amend the Customs Act
Masse Speaks on S-2, An Act to amend the Customs Act Hansard – May 4, 2009 Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, the United States has raised the issue of security of goods and services. I would like the member to comment on one particular circumstance. The bill would appear to improve some elements of accountability and public safety at the border, but at the same time the government has allowed CP Rail to basically fire 17 mechanical workers in the Windsor-Essex County area. These workers inspected trains coming into Canada from the United States. The Mississauga derailment was the largest evacuation of people in North America before hurricane Katrina. Two hundred thousand people were evacuated. The trains involved in that derailment originated in Windsor where there is lots of hazardous waste materials. Trains coming from Chicago and other areas heading to Toronto will not get the same level of inspection as a result of CP Rail firing those mechanical workers. Those trains will end up on our rail system. There is a contradictory message here. We are trying to improve land border stuff but there is a contradiction taking place on the actual rail elements. It is important to note that Transport Canada looked at railcars that needed to be repaired and 36% failed. At the same time, Transport Canada could not even provide a percentage of the rail cars coming in from the United States. This legislation sends a mixed message. Ms. Napolitano of the Department of Homeland Security in the United States raised an issue about security at the border. The fact that we no longer have inspection service in southwestern Ontario is going to create a problem later on. Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise today in debate on Bill S-2, An Act to amend the Customs Act, formerly Bill C-43, tabled in the last session of Parliament but did not make its way through the system. However, customs changes are worthy of engaging in, especially at the committee level. There are elements of the bill that are very important for men and women who are on the front line of defence for Canada with regard to our border situation. They face an extraordinary job, and the tasks at hand of balancing the issue of trade and security. They generally do a commendable job on as regular basis. In my area, our customs officers not only protect, but actually serve at times, even without the proper equipment and training. A number of years ago they had to borrow a bullet-proof vest because there were not enough available. Now there are some better supports there and I am glad for that advancement. The bill is important because it lays out the framework for our border crossings. There are 119 border crossings between Canada and the United States. Of those, there are 24 international bridges and tunnels. Of those 24 international bridges and tunnels, two are privately held: the one in Fort Francis and the one in Windsor, Ontario. I will not go down that road just yet, but it is unfortunate. Because of that private ownership model, we pay incredible taxes. We have seen the owner-operator of that facility basically board up homes by buying them up in the adjacent area, which has led to social grief and also diminished property values for their own interest and at the expense of the community. That is surely a tragedy, because there are other consequences. Of the 119 crossings, approximately 29 of them have 80% of the traffic on a regular basis, crossing the border between our nations. When we look at the volume of trade, over $1 billion a day, it is interesting to note that 40% of that happens along the Windsor-Detroit corridor. For those who are not familiar, there are four crossings that have that concentration in a two mile length of river front. There is the Detroit-Windsor tunnel, owned by the city of Windsor on the Canadian side and the city of Detroit on the American side. They have a long-term lease agreement with Macquarie International. The CP Rail tunnel was built at approximately the same time, about 76 years ago. It is two single sleeve tunnels that are small. One has been expanded modesty but cannot accommodate the triple stackers. It can accommodate some train traffic, but a smaller amount. Ironically, CP Rail inspection workers were basically fired from that location and moved up the rail line, which is a real travesty, because recently in a Transport Canada document I was able to obtain, it showed that during the inspection period process, 36% of the trains needed to be shopped out or failed the inspection, and there are pictures of derailments and so forth. This will be detrimental when we talk about the issues of border delays and those around security, of which the bill has some elements. When the United States learn of this change of policy will be very much concerned. We are concerned on the Canadian side, because during that inspection process, we could not even get real numbers. There was also a leak of hazardous material from one of the tankers during that process. Now none of those trains will be inspected from Windsor pretty well all the way to Toronto and Montreal. It is important to note that the trains involved in the derailment in Mississauga, where 200,000 people had to be evacuated. Interestingly enough, that was before Katrina. That was the largest evacuation in North America up to that time. Those trains came out of Windsor, so we are really concerned about rail safety operations. Past the CP Rail facility there is the Ambassador Bridge, which is owned by a private American citizen. Once again, this facility has the vast majority of truck and vehicle border crossings in this country. It has the highest fares too over most areas. It is double what the Blue Water Bridge is in Sarnia. Then past that, there is the Detroit-Windsor Truck Ferry Service, which is owned by a private American operator, which transports hazardous materials between our countries. Ironically, that operator has been recognized by the Department of Homeland Security and has actually received grants because of its safe operation.
April 30th, 2009
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: Brian Urges Government to Act on Auto Industry Now
Hansard – Masse on the Auto Industry April 30, 2009 Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, many Canadian workers and communities stopped what they were doing today to huddle around the TV and watch President Obama decide their fate. Extraordinary measures were taken to prevent the collapse of the Chrysler Corporation because hedge fund vultures refused to participate in a solution. Meanwhile in Canada we once again wait to see a plan. The NDP called for a green car strategy five years ago to produce low emission, fuel efficient vehicles and put Canada on the cutting edge of the new automotive revolution. Obama's call for these same measures and commitment to provide leadership and a plan is what is missing here in Canada. Canada needs to restart the Canadian auto partnership council, provide low interest loans to Canadians for new vehicle and lease purchases, and an incentive program as in the United States, Germany, Britain and others have taken to kickstart consumers and help communities and workers who are on the brink. I challenge the government to wake up and put its partisanship aside, stop blaming workers and start working for solutions to make sure our men and women have jobs and our communities are strengthened.
April 27th, 2009
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: On Border Issues
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise today on this important subject matter that has been proposed as the Liberal opposition day motion. It is important that we look at context as well as talk about what is happening not just with regard to Napolitano's comments from the Department of Homeland Security but also the WHTI, the western hemisphere travel initiative, the passport issue in particular and how it is going to change the relationship of our countries. It already has had what I would say is a cancerous effect on our relationship, one that is causing considerable economic grief for border communities. I would also argue that a social cultural change is going to happen. When our citizens engage with the United States, we have to remember that often they could be cousins or direct marriage relatives and there are business and personal contacts now that are being snuffed out. Those relationships are being extinguished. By talking to different people, we will discover that they have given up trying to cross the border on a regular basis. My uncle and aunt live in the United States. They come to Canada on a regular basis and it is a good part of my family's life that they have been able to visit every week with my grandmother. It has put much more strain and pressure on them and we are lucky they continue to put up with it. At the same time, I know other Canadians have simply given up. The loss is very significant because it undermines the social fabric which made Canada and the United States such great friends. I think our citizens really get it. We hear commentary in the media, for example, a FOX News journalist recently or in Canada in the past when Liberals stomped on a doll of the president, and citizens do not really engage that much in it. They just say politicians are being silly or the comments in the media are stupid. When they meet their friends, family and business partners, they recognize the real breadth and depth of their relationships and support it. However, that is going to change with the implementation. It is important to note that this goes back farther in time than the last number of months. For those who are not aware, I am from Windsor, Ontario. I basically walk down the steps of my house, look to the left down the street and see the Detroit River and the city of Detroit. I grew up and lived near the border and crossed on a regular basis as a child, an adult and now as a father. It is part of our relationship in terms of things we do for business and the way we construct our social relations. I worry about losing that aspect, a real benefit for our relations at the end of the day. The first time I got really upset was during the former Chrétien government. I was in Washington, D.C. lobbying for softwood lumber. We had a meeting with the ambassador at that time. We had just learned that the U.S. was going to start to implement what was called the NSER program. There were 35 countries that were originally on the list. It was the first time in history that people who were not American citizens had to be fingerprinted and photographed as they entered the United States. The Canadian position at that time was non-existent. There was no discussion by the ambassador, there was no discussion whatsoever. What was interesting was on the list were Canadians who happened to be born somewhere else and were going to be registered as if they were not Canadian citizens. That is what has happened. An example is people from Pakistan. There have been people from Pakistan in my community for over 100 years. Ironically, they are doctors and lawyers who go to the United States every single day to save lives. They have been in Canada for 30 or 40 years, most of the entire lives, and they were going to be treated differently by the Americans because of their places of birth. What was interesting was our government of the day refused to challenge that. They basically let the United States unilaterally say, “Certain aspects of your citizens are going to be a threat. We don't care if they're doctors, we don't care if they're nurses, we don't care if they're workers or engineers in the automotive industry, they are going to be treated differently than the rest of your citizens”. The U.S. has the right to do that. I am not saying it does not. The United States is a foreign nation, a sovereign nation, but at the same time our government should have defended our citizens and said, “A Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian”. If we go through our vetting process through immigration, which originated 20, 30 years ago or whatever it might be, people are valued as a Canadian citizen with the same rights as someone else. That program has turned into the U.S. visit program, a much more comprehensive program. The U.S. is moving this even further, to have an entry and exit system to access the country in a general way, not just in terms of those who register any more. That is going to create more border issues. It is important to recognize that, because that was one of first times the government decided to not even challenge it. That was the previous government, the Chrétien government that did that. I have not heard a prime minister to date, not Prime Minister Paul Martin nor the current Prime Minister, say that once Canadian citizens have been vetted through our process should be treated the same way. That is a message that is important to actually get out there, because it complicates our border situation, making it really difficult in terms of not only just those individuals who have to go through these different processes but also the processing itself and the delays that are happening quite significantly. I want to touch on another subject that is really important. We watch this changing relationship and again the government is not doing anything. This is related to a treaty dating back to 1817. Following the war of 1812, there was a treaty between Canada and the United States that there would be no gun boats or armed vessels on the Great Lakes system. What ended up happening in 2003, out of the hysteria that was happening, is the United States proposed, and wanted to bring in, gunboats are actually now on the Great Lakes. Let me describe these gunboats. They have auto cannons on them. The auto cannons can fire up to 600 bullets a minute. I cannot imagine a threat coming from Canada that requires something like that. If someone is hit by 600 bullets in a minute, there is nothing left. That is the type of auto cannon we have there. Once again it was the Liberals at that time that allowed and adjusted this treaty. So now we have a situation. The agreement is interesting when we start to delve into it. There is a history here where they simply say, “Okay, well, we are not going to actually engage, and we have an agreement right now we can chase across the boundary in pursuit, for whatever different reason. The RCMP can do it, the coast guard can do it. Back and forth on both sides”. Apparently what is supposed to happen is that these auto cannons, if they are in hot pursuit, they are actually going to stop, tear down the actual auto cannon, put it away and then go back into Canadian waters. I have a hard time believing that. What was phenomenal about that is the issue that came out of it later. It shows the complications as we allow this militarization. They want to set up 40 different gun ranges on the actual Great Lakes system, where they were actually going to have practice and targeting. What is important about that is the issue over national security and the concerns we really want to make sure are taken care for the American point of view, but how they can really change the nature and relationship of the beautiful aspect of a relationship, sharing one of the most important treasures of the world, the Great Lakes fresh water tributary system, which is so important for our ecological habitat and ourselves as a human population, and this world, this planet. What they want to do is they propose to put 40 different gun boat ranges on there for practice and targeting. Now this is one of the busiest waterways in the world. There are tankers, sport fishing, all kinds of things there. We fought that. I raised questions here in the House of Commons. The government of the day just fluffed it off. Interestingly enough, I made a submission on behalf of the New Democratic Party in November 2006 because there is a process to make applications of interest into the American system. We signed this, all of our caucus colleagues at that time. I believe we are the only political party to do this. What happened was interesting. The government's response in 2006 came after the deadline of submissions. Here the whole Great Lakes system is going to be turned into live firing range areas, and they submitted their submission two days after the actual hearing process was to be completed. Basically it really showed the disinterest that this Canadian government had with regard to these relations. We see how these things start to ramp up. In that time period, as well, there was the agreement of the Canadian government moving towards these operational centres, the first one in Great Falls, an air wing branch, where what we have done now is we have allowed the introduction on our border of not only just surveillance drone planes but we have black hawk helicopters, we have chinooks, one was flying by my house the other day. I cannot image what the threat was. We also have, once again, the gun boat ranges. We also now have watchtowers with security surveillance that Boeing is putting up. We have allowed all this stuff without real analysis or engaging the Americans and asking, “What is it that you really want to get at that is important here?” We all agree on security. We want to make sure there is going to be a decrease in smuggling and illegal immigration, a whole series of things. We have allowed the hype to happen. That is why we have someone like Ms. Napolitano. It is quite political. This is quite clear. What they are doing is they are shifting the debate about the southern border of Mexico and the United States to be about the northern border down here. Both the previous government and the government of the day have been very much asleep at the switch, not protecting the interests of Canadians because we have allowed this myth and now the physical entities are there at this point in time.
April 23rd, 2009
Masse Questions Transport Minister on CP Rail & Rail Safety
Masse Questions Transport Minister on CP Rail & Rail Safety
April 23, 2009
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, the problems with the government's management of safety inspections extend to our railways, as well. Canadian Pacific Railway plans to remove its mechanical forces from Welland, London, Lambton, Oshawa and Windsor. This threatens the safety of our railway and the security of our border, and puts many communities in harm's way. If the minister does not act today, the likelihood of an incident is an inevitable catastrophe, just like Mississauga. Will the minister act to safeguard border security and public health by stopping CPR's plan to eliminate comprehensive safety checks? The government did this for Edmonton, Alberta and needs to do the same for Ontario.
March 31st, 2009
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: Debate on CBC Funding
Hansard – March 31, 2009 – CBC Debate Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, it is important to recognize that despite the rhetoric and the blaming of who cut more and how fast, we have real situations right now that are actually causing Canadian culture and jobs to be lost. In Windsor, for example, CBC/Radio-Canada has been stripped to bare bones and we are losing other reporting. That is really important because in the shadow of the United States we face an onslaught of media, especially with French language. We do not have carriage outside of our discourse in the United States with use of French language. In fact, many Canadians in the United States get French language services from the CBC and regional development. I would like to ask my colleague this. He continues to stand here and talk about the fact that the government has provided more money but what is the result at the end of the day? How has the government preserved that in Windsor and other places and why is the minister not telling the CBC to get its act together and not cut regional programming, especially French language services, that nobody else provides in North America? Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I think it is really important to acknowledge that without the CBC, especially in border communities like ours where we actually project into the United States to Canadians as well, it cannot tell stories like the Navistar truck plant announcement where the government has decided to send $200 million to Texas instead of to Chatham where those vehicles are produced and that we are going to lose that voice not only domestically but internationally.
March 23rd, 2009
Masse on Bill C-2: International Trade Agreements, Procurement Policies and the Impact on Workers and Industry in Canada
Hansard – Free Trade March 23, 2009 Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, it is important that one looks at the context of trade. One can look to the current deals out there that have been signed, and as part of due diligence, one can review what is happening here. It is important to look at Bill C-2. The hon. member for Burnaby—New Westminster has requested to carve out aspects of shipbuilding. That is actually a normal process of trade arrangements. In fact, in the history of trade arrangements they have had these elements in a series of different ways. For example, just look at the United States. It has the Jones Act and also procurement policies within a number of different defence contracts. The United States also has these elements in manufacturing, for example with the bus industry, where there are provisions that require content assembly in parts manufacturing in the United States. In fact, Canadian companies had to go into the United States and open up assembly plants so they could bid and win contracts for those. As well, the United States has a buy American clause, which is part of its overall procurement policy and always has been. It reached some feverish discussion in recent months, but the reality is it has been in American law for a number of years. The clause has in fact been part of the United States' ordinary procurement policy and has also been part of American state and municipal procurement policies. The request that has been made here is part of negotiation tactics. Unfortunately, Canadians have a history of bad negotiations when one looks at the past Liberal government and the Conservative government. The fact is the deal here was arranged by David Emerson, who was a Liberal minister for the Martin administration. When he crossed the floor after an election, he continued with his policies. One of the policies was with regard to European trade, but also another one with Colombia. Also, another deal that has not seen the light of day, thankfully, is with Korea. If one looks at those policies, the government offered up quite significantly a number of different iconic Canadian industries as bait to bring in trade negotiations, and then the government caved and gave them away later on. One of the reasons I have been opposed to the South Korea trade deal is that, as some bureaucrats will admit, they had to offer something up. In this agreement the government has offered up the automotive industry. It is a terrible position to start with, because one knows right away where one's negotiation strength is. Unfortunately, the government comes back with deals that really sell out certain segments of Canada's industrialized capacity. It is important to note, for example, the United States has its own defence procurement policy and Canada does not begrudge it that. Canada knows the United States has certain aspects it wants to continue to have in its country as part of its overall strategic way to deal with civil society as well as international affairs. That is why it has the capacity to make sure it can respond to certain things. Sadly, Canada has done the exact opposite. Canada has basically abandoned any type of sectorial strategy approach, and only through a budgetary process year by year scrambles around to try to find some programs or aids that come and go for the aerospace, automotive, or shipbuilding industries. The government does not really create concrete plans of action. The NDP is looking at Norway for particular reasons in this debate because it spent over a dozen years building a shipbuilding industry through heavy subsidization and national policy. It had over a generation of public policy geared to design and build ships not only for their domestic industry, but also international industry. When Canada then enters into an agreement like this with no terms and conditions to protect Canadian industry, it is at a natural disadvantage. I have had a chance to see some of the work that has been done with shipbuilding. I have been at the Irving yards in Halifax and spoken with the workers there. Interestingly enough, the government position has always been the issue over labour mobility. The government says if workers cannot build ships because there is no work, then they need to go out to Alberta or somewhere else to find a job. The first thing one may say to that, even I as a young parent, is one will do what one must, there is no doubt about it. When Canadians have thriving communities that are going to continue to be there, it is important for families to be held together, which is the creation of a bond the community requires to deal with everything, including social programs, crime, education, innovation. It is not just about having workers go away for a couple of months and come back again. Canadians do those things if they have to, but the preference would be to have a job in their own community, especially communities that historically will be around for the foreseeable future. We should be looking at building that capacity. It is about those communities with a high industrialized component for shipbuilding, for example, as we are talking about today specifically, to be part of a program and plan to create stability. We are going to win from that. Other organizations or other countries would not be complaining about Canada being protectionist because this is done in other countries and that is why it is important to have this component carved out and move forward with the rest of the trade agreement that would be more balanced. It would be progressive in the sense that shipbuilding would be removed, but it is not, which is unfortunately why we are back here today. I am going to speak again about the Navistar truck plant in Chatham, Ontario where a $200 million defence procurement offer went out to International Truck which is located in Chatham and also Texas, which decided to put all the work into Texas. That is not acceptable because a number of years ago International Truck was having problems and there was a $35 million loan guarantee provided to it which was successful and for the last several years we have been producing trucks at that plant and doing quite well. In fact when they tried to move production to Mexico, they had to come back to Chatham to be audited and repaired because the quality was not up to what the client needed. I do not get upset as a Canadian politician if the United States is going to buy trucks from Texas for its military. I understand Americans have a plant with people working there. If they are going to buy trucks and if they thought it would be a good idea to come to Canada to buy them here that is a good thing. We are always hopeful to gain that type of business. But I can understand that they want to have certain segments of their military protected, to be able to do procurement there because they actually get it. They also understand if they have that development capacity they also have control over who gets those at what time. They have it in their contracting, so basically the United States can cut the line whenever it wants and that would reduce our capability to have our own sovereignty addressed. It is interesting that this plant can produce that truck for retooling at about $800,000. With the layoff of workers going to take place, we are looking at maybe $17 million to $19 million in unemployment insurance benefits. So it makes no sense whatsoever on an economic scale. If we were actually going to have that investment, the retooling is going to be done by Canadians, the equipment allotted is going to be Canadian. People doing the work are Canadian and we would have the next future base of taxation policy from those who are making money in that area contributing back to the coffers of Canada, so we would have a net win. So why we would send our truck development to Texas and basically backhand Chatham, Ontario which is struggling right now does not make any sense. It goes to a deeper issue also which ties with the essence of shipbuilding and the history we have with the water. Canadians know we have been a maritime nation serving ourselves quite capably during the first and second world wars where we had one of the largest merchant marines and navies by the conclusion of the war. There was a real pride and sense of dignity we had with being able to procure much of our own development and capacity to do it. People having the type of work where they actually produce something of net value they can really relate to is such a value added component to our society. It is an extra added benefit to those who are part of the actual experience. In terms of shipbuilding there is that element. Similar to that, in Chatham, Ontario it is what the Conservative government said is that they are not going to produce for our men and women serving in the military, it is going to have someone else do that. Therefore they miss out on that relationship of having to be able to get up every single day, go to work, get a paycheque and also contribute to the Canadian development experience that is so important, that when one has a job that one has a meaningful sense of worth. The Conservatives have told them, no, they are not good enough. They are not going to be the ones that will do this. They are going to assign that to somewhere else. That is what is so important about the debate in terms of the economics behind the shipbuilding industry and also how it connects to ourselves as a people. When we see this outsourcing that is going on it becomes very frustrating. What is happening is workers and others are starting to feel the anguish and I worry about the elements that will come next. Being from the auto sector I can tell the House that there is a great deal of frustration coming from workers who feel that the government is not there for them and that they are having to do things on their own. In one of the more recent cases that we have had is the issue over Aradco. I want to take this opportunity to congratulate Gerry Farnham, president of CAW195 and his workers. Because they were not going to get the severance when an American company pulled out of Canada, and 80 families were losing their jobs and they were not even going to get a severance package, these workers took it upon themselves to occupy the plant and they made sure that they were going to get a better severance package which was negotiated by themselves and not with the help of the government. Those people are working class heroes. They are men and women who many of them are single parent families who have had to take these types of actions to protect themselves and their families livelihoods. That should be a message to the government about what happened in that one plant at this particular time. The government has to be more responsible when it has the tools and the resources behind it to make a difference in this country. That is why we should be carving out this element and protecting our shipbuilding industry and the workers who have the skills and the training, which is important. When we look at the Aradco workers they were some of the most productive workers and through no fault of their own they were usurped. That is the same for the shipbuilding industry. The workers are the best trained and they are people who actually have significant experience. We are going to abandon that in some type of an experiment and it does not make any sense. That is why we have to turn this around. People are looking at us and looking at the examples that we are setting. They are asking what can we do with their taxpaying dollars that will benefit not only just in terms of the immediacy of the tax expenditure that we are doing right now but later on in terms of public policy. That is what a national strategy for shipbuilding and an auto strategy would be and all those other things where there is value and traceable elements of where the money goes to. That is what could be done in this particular element. Workers are going to continue to feel frustration as they have done everything right and then they do not have the government behind them. It is disappointing that we are here by ourselves as New Democrats on this issue. I think we will be looking back later not only in terms of what we have lost but also the missed opportunity to reinforce at a time when there is that motivation which should be even bigger to restart an industry and make sure that it is going to thrive. That is really critical because when we can look at the incredible opportunities. We can look at the Great Lakes, not only as a treasure environmentally but also trade corridor that is significant. The ships that are there right, in terms of Great Lake freighters, now need to be replaced. Those will all be built in China, Norway or somewhere else and they could be built here. Sadly we let the shipbuilding facility at Collingwood go, but we could plan to make sure that Halifax, the Montreal area and other parts are preserved where we still actually have that capacity. For those who are not aware of it, Collingwood has now become a resort. It is a very beautiful location with a lot of positive things there. However what we did not do was plan another deep water capacity port. What we have lost now is the opportunity to actually have a thriving industry return. Therefore we need to think about that in the context of what is happening right now and this is the perfect opportunity. I think it is important that we revisit and look at what the message would be for Canada if we actually carved this out. It would tell the other countries that we are interested in doing this and I do not think we would have a hostile reaction. I do not think any country would challenge us. When we look at some of the European policies for defence and other procurements, it is quite similar. When we look at the United States, it is very clear that it has decided that it is going to have this at its capacity, and we are very much integrated with the United States. Ironically, even as we have had some of these elements, the United States has gone to the extreme where under the Patriot Act and other types of legislation, many Canadian workers are not eligible to work on some contracts in the United States that are defence procurements. The United States has even challenged the workers who are part of companies that are integrated. This is going to become a bigger issue because we have a number of different procurements that are going to take place over the next few months. We will hear about some of them, including search and rescue planes that need to be replaced. There are concerns already being expressed that the government is going to skew the bidding process basically to give an Italian company the contract. We have actually a number of different consortiums here in Canada that could actually do that type of work and that have up to 50% Canadian ownership. They should be part of that process. We are going to continue to see this type of debate emerge. This is not a one-time issue. We are going to see the return of the discussion of the South Korean trade deal. That is another one that I mentioned, where the automotive aspect to it is being offered up as an element that basically could be seen as the carrot to bring us in, and then later on we suffer the consequences because of that. It is not just the New Democrats here on their own who are actually bringing this issue forward. It is interesting because we have not only the labour aspect, which is traditionally a part of our party, our relations and so forth, but we also have the associations and the companies, such as the Irvings. There are some interesting quotes that have come out of this debate that really reinforce the fact it is going to be costing us as a country a lot of jobs, such as Mary Keith, a spokesperson for Irving Shipbuilding Inc. It has actually put this in a release, so it is not something that was just said off the cuff or thrown out in a media comment. This is an actual release that it put out, so they thought very carefully about what they were going to say. She said: The Government of Canada is continuing its 12 year history of sacrificing Canadian shipbuilding and the ship operators in the establishment of free trade agreements with other nations. International trade minister David Emerson said a free trade agreement in principle was reached with countries Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. They were looking at it through a 12 year lens when she made that comment, and that is significant because there are a number of different operators or companies out there seeing this as systemic, and when we see something as systemic, we defeat the option of other people interested in actually investing or moving into that actual field. The people making those comments are indicating that this is not just a one-time bad policy from the Conservative government and the Liberals before it. What they are saying is that if people want to get into this business, they better buckle up because the ones who are in it right now are completely dissatisfied with the relationship they have with the government. They feel that not only is it not neutral, it is actually against the flow. I want to point that out because what we have happening here is a continued pattern of behaviour, the assumption that we can just reduce trade barriers or regulations, whether it is regarding food or other types of industries such as the airline industry, and we are going to see natural improvements to the consumer and to civil society. That is not the case. That has not always happened. What we need is a carrot and a stick approach. The carrot is good public policy and the stick is to make sure that the jobs are going to be created here, especially when taxpayers' money is involved. Mr. Brian Masse: Mr. Speaker, we know the industry will be abandoned in Canada. I would be surprised if the Bloc thought that if the industry has trouble later on, we should not worry because the Conservatives will rescue it at the end of the day. I would be surprised if the Bloc believed that would happen, because I do not sense that from the government. Traditionally, it has not been there. I would not give the Conservatives that type of credibility or that type of responsibility and think it is real. It is important that when we have a trade agreement, it is fair and balanced. It should not be done at the expense of one particular group or segment. That is the whole point, I suppose, of a united Canada. We can be stronger and more successful. There is nothing wrong with carving out a piece of this deal and then negotiating a better one. There is certainly a lot of benefit from other countries when they come into the markets in Canada. It will be a more balanced, a fair trade, but we cannot ignore that Norway has provided more than a decade of support for an industry that will destroy that. I would say that the Quebec shipbuilding industry would also take a hit. It could be much more significant, but has not been because there has not been that policy in place. I believe Quebec will suffer from that lost capacity and also potentially a shipyard closure, which has been threatened in the past. That would be a setback for the country and for Quebec. Mr. Brian Masse: Mr. Speaker, quite frankly, a couple of things play into this. First, the architect of this deal was David Emerson, a Liberal. Members have quite clearly hitched the history to him. He was the architect of the softwood lumber deal and we all know how that is working out. In fact, I was just in the United States and it was questioning Canada's deal itself. We do not even have a set stability pattern. We basically got taken to the cleaners on that deal. Ironically, we were winning in the courts and then we pulled defeat from the jaws of victory. I live across from Detroit, Michigan which is home to the Detroit Lions, so I am very familiar with that process. That is what was done with regard to the softwood lumber deal. We see the catastrophic result of it across this country. Who can be satisfied with the current status quo in the agreement? That is part of the problem, as well as expediency. When sign trade agreements are signed, for some reason they are seen as elements of justification or a process that shows maturation in a government. That is really worrisome in the sense that the symbolism of it is being presented as more important than the fact of what is going to happen to industries after they emerge in this new relationship. I do not know why the Bloc is supporting this without forcing the carve out. It makes no sense for it to turn its back on the workers of Quebec, in particular those directly affected. Basically giving up control of the potential shipping industry in the future to other hands without having a public policy is rather peculiar. Those are some of the reasons I think we are seeing some of the decisions being made and why we in the NDP are the only ones speaking on this issue. I have debated this a number of times and people say I am against trade and moving forward. That is the furthest thing from the truth. What we need is fair trade and this is part of negotiations that have taken place in other bills and other countries and they have those elements. With that, we should move forward with this. We not only have examples we can point to but they are right next door in the United States. Mr. Brian Masse: Mr. Speaker, I think the people who negotiate on our behalf have either a self-esteem problem or need to see Tony Robbins, or something. It is habitually case that they go in with a position to give up something quite significant and we get taken advantage of. People just cannot go in playing poker with their hands facing the opposite way and kind of hope things are going to go right. Those types of elements cannot be given up right away. It important that we actually set the proper policy. I have seen it with the auto industry. It is affecting the entire country right now. All we can do now is hitch on to the United States because we have given up so much of the sovereignty. I would hate to see the shipbuilding industry suffer the same fate because it is important not only for our national security but also the type of work people can do and the value-added work that goes back to the coffers of this country. Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, that is an interesting intervention, especially given the fact that the NDP did not even have enough votes to vote with the Liberals at that time. Obviously, once again the Liberals cannot even do basic counting. This issue really is that the Canadian public was tired of Liberals' behaviour in the sponsorship scandal. That is really what is at stake here. The bluster coming from the member really shows the sensitivity that Liberals have about this issue because they know that the minister at the time, David Emerson, who flip-flopped and crossed the floor to the Conservatives, was the mastermind behind it. He sold us out with the softwood lumber deal. Is the architect trying to sell us out with the South Korea deal, which we have been able to stop as New Democrats? The heart of the matter is this deal should be stopped right now. If Liberals want to do something productive, they could carve this element out and correct their ways. I would like the hon. member to comment on that. Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I know my colleague is aware of the case of Navistar. The government is procuring trucks as part of a couple-hundred-million-dollar project. Our country has decided to send this work to Texas. At the same time, we have a perfectly good facility in Chatham, Ontario that can produce those vehicles. It is going to close eventually. Ironically, it has been rescued in the past and been successful. We understand the United States is going to purchase their trucks for their Texas plant. We accept that, but why can we not do the same thing in our country? The retooling is around $800,000, but the employment insurance for the laid off workers is estimated at $17 million to $19 million. It makes no sense whatsoever. I would like to have my colleague's comments on that.
March 23rd, 2009
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: Addressing Rail Safety
Hansard – Rail Safety March 23, 2008 Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, safety management systems are very important to this bill, and one of the things that has happened is that the deregulation of the actual railroad industry has allowed safety management systems to be implemented. There has been a rail traffic study that recently came back which talked about the culture of intimidation and fear that was felt by railroad workers who are supposed to report to the system, so deregulation is very important to this aspect because the components connect together. The Conservatives are arguing that they are doing this for public safety on one side, but let me give a specific example of what they are doing with deregulation on the other side and the consequences. CP Rail has filed to fire and move 25 safety inspector officers in Windsor and relocate them elsewhere. There will not be an evaluation of rail transportation support from Chicago to Toronto and to Montreal. In between will be left vacant now and the minister has yet to respond to this actual issue to protect those jobs. There has been a refilling request, requested from CP Rail, but the reality is that there could be the potential withdrawal in the upcoming weeks of these workers, so I would ask my colleague about that. How can we be saying to the United States that we want to do this, and at the same time, take away inspection for all of southern Ontario? Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I commend the member for putting this forward and trying to reach some consensus with this issue. We all want to improve our rail safety. However, I think it is important to provide a couple of examples to make sure that people understand the context of what can happen. On the border in my region, with 40% of Canada's daily trade, we often have people who are caught within legislation with unintended consequences. I do worry about the powers of the minister with regard to the screening process. Even now, we are seeing some extreme behaviour by current ministers who are denying a British MP into Canada and other types of behaviours that have not really been effective in terms of the original intent of their discretionary power. In Windsor, we often get caught with the issue of one having a marijuana charge from back in their teens. We have people who are driving trucks in transport for just-in-time delivery for the auto industry who 25 or 30 years ago committed an offence that prohibits them from having access to different programs and screening. Not only that, it depends upon the interpretation and discretionary power of the people they run into on the U.S. border. I will give a particular example. One major auto company had a worker there for 25 years with an outstanding record of employment. This worker, who had no problems after this one charge as a teenager of having a marijuana cigarette, was detained at the border for two to four hours every time they went over the process. We had to work that through to stop that from happening. I commend the member for it and making sure that these types of situations could maybe be resolved before they create a drag on the economy.
March 16th, 2009
MASSE IN THE NEWS: 'Our fight ... to win'; Fans, dignitaries rally to protest demise of A-Channel
March 13th, 2009
MASSE IN THE NEWS: Chrysler's fate on the line; Carmaker demands big concessions from CAW
PUBLICATION: The Windsor Star BYLINE: John McCrank and Dave Hall
Chrysler's fate on the line; Carmaker demands big concessions from CAW
Chrysler Canada may have put itself on a collision course with the Canadian Auto Workers by demanding much deeper wage concessions than the CAW agreed to give General Motors as the automakers work to secure a government rescue package.
March 10th, 2009
QUESTION PERIOD: Masse questions Industry Minister on Automotive
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, workers at General Motors are showing leadership, but after the unprecedented sacrifice auto workers made yesterday, the minister turns to them and says, “It is not enough”. What is not good enough is that there is no national auto strategy, no protection for pensions, and we are just sitting by watching jobs go to Michigan and Mexico. That is what is not good enough. When will the government admit that its inaction led us here and that it is time to do something substantial for a change?
March 8th, 2009
MASSE IN THE NEWS: Throwing salt on Windsor's wounds: The imminent closure of A-channel affiliate CHWI-TV adds another chapter to the alarming death knell for local news outlets across our country
March 6th, 2009
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: International Trade, Navistar, Shipbuilding, and Economy
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise on this issue again and it is a pleasure to follow my colleague who has worked so many years in these halls on the issue of shipbuilding, officially through the transcripts of Hansard and also in the background yelling “What about shipbuilding?” That is a common phrase, and one of the things that I have seen over the years, and I have been here since 2002, coming from an industrial area of automotive, is really a lack of policy for sectoral strategies. One of the things that separates ourselves from other parties in this House is the belief that the government does not have to always be involved in the actual industry but should set out some conditions and some structures that make it prosper and compete, similar to other countries. That is not done in this country. The philosophy of the Liberals and Conservatives over the last number of years has been just to lower corporate tax cuts and then industries will thrive. Whereas in other countries where there have been successful models, including Norway which is one of the concerns we have with regard to the issue with regard to the trade agreement that we are talking about today, is that they have been able to develop a very competitive shipbuilding industry through a sectoral strategy. That is one of the reasons they will have a successful penetration into the Canadian market after years of government assistance and structures. It is important to note, as we look at the current economic issues that our country is facing, that we are continuing, and I think Canadians will be shocked to hear this, that the Liberals and Conservatives would be passing this budget, to beat out a path of corporate tax cuts. Right now, with the deficit and the debt and all the borrowing that we are going to do, we are actually going to be borrowing more money to give it to the corporations and actually have to pay more interest on that. We do not even have the money for those tax cuts right now, but we are going to continue to do that. That does not make any sense when we look at the what the government has been doing. Basically they have been on the side of the banking sector, quite explicitly, with their support with it. They are bringing in profits right now, and they are not even doing the things they have been asked to do by the government and other Canadians, extending credit. I would just point to the automobile sector, for example, where right now we have people who want to get into borrowing to buy a new vehicle or lease a vehicle, and they cannot do that. The rates of the banks are just absolutely unacceptable. They are anywhere between 7% to 11%, when we have interest rates so low right now. What that does is it prevents somebody from getting into a new vehicle and keeping a Canadian at work, or it gouges them as a consumer which is totally unacceptable. They are the only ones actually making money on automobiles right now. That is not acceptable. What we are hoping to see here is a sectoral strategy evolve that involves our industrial bases. That includes the issue of shipbuilding. As my colleague has noted, it is not only just important for a manufacturing base, it is also important for this country from a national security perspective. That is why the United States has policies set in place. We have not challenged those policies because in some respects we have actually accepted the fact that they are going to have some procurement for their own interest in terms of a defence policy. That is something we have agreed to in terms of understanding. I will point to the good example, a classic, with regard to the Navistar truck plant, where right now the government has provided a $300 million contract to Navistar which has a plant in Texas and it has a plant in Chatham, Ontario. What is happening is that we are actually allowing Navistar to produce these military trucks in Texas when retooling was only $800,000 in Chatham. So we are going to fire all those workers and send them home, and it is actually going to cost us around $17 million to $19 million in employment insurance instead of retooling that truck plant. I am sure they would understand in the United States that we Canadians, ourselves, want to build our military trucks for our men and women serving us here in our country and also abroad. They would understand that, just like we understand that they would likely do the same for those in Texas, where they would not actually send the procurement here. It does not make any sense when we look at the economic conditions that are facing us right now. There has been a lot of debate in this chamber and also in the United States about some of these policies. There was a lot of discussion about the United States having a buy America clause as part of their overall stimulus package, but the reality is whether or not that is in that act unless it is actually disclaimed, it actually counts no matter what because it is part of their policies going back to the amendments made on separate legislation.
March 6th, 2009
MASSE IN THE HOUSE: First Hour of Debate on Bill C-273, Right-to-Repair
Right to Repair – First Hour of Debate March 6, 2009 Bill C-273. Second reading Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP) moved that Bill C-273, An Act to amend the Competition Act and the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (right to repair), be read the second time and referred to a committee. He said: Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise and speak on Bill C-273, affectionately known as the right to repair and affectionately because it is a bill, I believe, that brings in a set of rules that would be very appropriate for this country to have. It deals with the aftermarket situation with regard to fixing automobiles and repairing them. It is an environmental issue, it is a consumer issue and it is also a safety issue. The bill seeks to make some changes to the Competition Act and also the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, and I do want to read into the record some elements that are very important. However, before I do so, I do think it is important to outline that it has been a couple of years I am working on this bill. It is not a bill that has just come out of the blue. It is one that has been dealt with in terms of hearing from people across the country, ensuring that the issue was something that needed addressing, that there was going to be a required element of Parliament to move on the bill, and I hope all members will look at this bill, will look at the merit of it, and will endorse bringing it to committee for study and for further work, and I am pleased to do so. When I think about this bill and one of the key elements of it, I want to thank Nancy Suranyi. I went to her garage in Namao, Alberta, and this is a facility that really showed another level to this It is not only just about making sure that consumers have the right to choose, but I found that the public safety element very significant, because in this facility, which requires this bill to move forward, there is everything, not only with regard to just vehicles for personal recreational use but also school buses and other types of public service vehicles where safety is required. So what is the consumer's right to a repair bill? The vehicle manufacturers are restricting access to tools, training and software to the aftermarket industry due to the increased sophistication of today's vehicles. It is gradually becoming more difficult for independent repair facilities to access the information and develop the skills required to service vehicles. By resolving some of this information for dealership networks, vehicle manufacturers are putting the aftermarket industry at an unfair disadvantage. The aftermarket market has made significant efforts in recent years to negotiate with vehicle manufacturers in order to find a solution to this problem. Unfortunately, the majority of vehicle manufacturers in Canada are unwilling to negotiate an industry-led solution and have little impetus to do so. The AIA has exhausted industry-led solutions and is now the requesting the Government of Canada to intervene in order to restore the balance between the dealership network and the independent repair facilities. It is important to note that the intent here, especially if we look at other parliamentary action we are taking, is to help the dealers, as well too. One of the things that we are requesting is to pursue a new vehicle purchasing and procurement policy as part of a stimulus package to get more automobiles on the road that are more modern and will actually help the dealers, as well, so this is very much done in balance. So, what is the problem? Vehicle manufacturers are restricting access to the tools, training, and diagnostic and repair codes to independent installers, preventing them from repairing late-model vehicles. This effectively eliminates choice. There are over 18 million vehicles on the road in Canada today. Approximately 59% of them are equipped with onboard diagnostic capabilities, referred to as OBD-II. The ratio will increase over time. The number of vehicle components monitored by the OBD-II will also continue to increase. The tools and the software required to access the computer control units on vehicles have become increasingly proprietary. Vehicle design processes are also more sophisticated. The use of exotic materials and the changes in welding and assembly technologies make it necessary for independent repair shops to access factory-specific training and tools. Consumer choice is evaporating and the impact of growing dealer monopoly is significant. Fewer choices mean higher repair costs and many repairs will be delayed or ignored altogether, putting highway safety at risk and increasing the risk of poor quality emissions. Also, fewer choices mean lower productivity. The existing dealer network does not have the capacity to repair all vehicles on the road today. This means longer waiting times and increased travel distances for consumers, especially in rural communities. Fewer choices mean instability. Independent repair facilities are primarily small enterprises found across Canada and many are located in small towns and rural areas. If this problem is not solved, many small businesses may be forced out of business within the next five years. Fewer choices mean that emission standards for vehicles will not be maintained, leading to more pollution and contributing to other environmental problems. Fewer choices endanger public safety because the safety mechanisms and the functions on vehicle will be at risk of not being properly maintained, putting not only drivers and passengers at risk, but also pedestrians and property owners. It is important to note that this is a situation unique to Canada. I live close to the border. If I walk down the front steps of my house and look to the left I can see Detroit, Michigan. It is literally two miles away. The river is two miles wide. Ironically, I could get my car repaired at an independent garage in Detroit within a matter of minutes yet I could not do the same in Canada. With is also ironic is the fact that the repair technician working on my vehicle in the United States could have less training than a repair technician in Canada because Canada has some of the highest qualification requirements. Our technicians get their training in independent garages. I want to thank Danielle Grech, Andre Chamberlain and Daniel Clement who attended the press conference here. These technicians had never done a public press conference before and despite that came to the nation's capital and took part in this public forum. They talked about the fact that even though they were professionally trained, they found it difficult to service people's vehicles. They talked about the fact that they had gone to school and received the necessary training and met the necessary requirements, but because of technical problems related to an industry that could not find consensus, they were not able to compete in a fair and open process. That is what is at stake here when thousands of people are affected by this industry. They know they are going to see diminished opportunities not because of competition or because of other issues, but because they do not have the ability to be in a market that allows them to do so. That is the reason why Canada needs to change this. The U.S. environmental protection act provides a requirement for a manufacturer to provide this kind of information. What is key here, and I want to make sure members in the House understand, is that I am not asking for something free. The legislation would require a fair payment system. We want to protect intellectual property. We want to make sure these things are going to be maintained. There is a clear effort from the groups supporting the bill to have a basic set of principles. In the United States it is easy to download any of the actual required software with just a credit card purchase. In Canada, a vehicle in an independent shop would have to be towed to a dealership because we cannot simply download a program here. Vehicles now have increased computerization that is going to require this type of atmosphere. Things like tire pressure could be affected in terms of whether a vehicle could be serviced at a particular facility or not. The bill has been looked at through a lot of different lenses. I want to read some of names of the organizations that are supporting the bill: the Retail Council of Canada; Pollution Probe; the Canadian Association of Retired Persons; Corporation des carrossiers professionnels due Québec; the Canadian Independent Automotive Association; the Barrie Automotive Repair Association; the Grey-Bruce Independent Automotive Repair Association; Association des marchands de véhicule d'occasion du Québec; the Ontario Tire Dealers Association; Motorist Assurance Program; Automotive Oil Change Association; Atlantic Tire Dealers Association; Independent Garage Operators Association; the Western Canada Tire Dealers Association and the Windsor Professional Automotive Repair Association. The list also includes associations in Kawartha, Sudbury, and western Canada. I would be remiss if I did not thank John Sowatsky and Dave Santing from my local riding who have been pushing this issue and have been doing some very good work in terms of public policy. The bill is more about being fair to consumers, but it is also about public safety. Dave's garage in my riding repairs municipal vehicles and ambulances as well as regular vehicles. To keep his business going he specializes in certain vehicles as well as ordinary vehicles in order for him to make ends meet. It is important to note that not all car companies are like this. Some are better than others. I would note that General Motors is not opposing this bill and is one of the better companies that has provided information about this. There needs to be an effort to make sure that there is going to be a clear accountability system. People need to be able to access some of these programs, services and tools. I spoke with Nancy Suranyi in Edmonton, Alberta. She had recently sent a team of employees to the United States to get the training, qualifications and equipment because it was not available here. There is a grey market aspect. Companies would love to be able to train Canadians on their own soil. It is really important to note that is part of what is necessary to make sure we have a modernized fleet and will continue to see the issues addressed. One of the issues is emissions. In Ontario there are a number of different clean air and drive programs. There are others out there. We need to make sure that smaller and medium-sized businesses are certified as well so that greenhouse gas emissions are lowered. A lot of vehicles will stay on the road for many years and they need to be as functional, clean and efficient as possible. It is critical for smog, air and greenhouse gas emissions. Pollution Probe is supporting the bill and I want to read a statement that it provided to me so generously. It states:
March 5th, 2009
MASSE ON EMPLOYMENT INSURANCE ISSUES IN PARLIAMENT
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise on this motion that we have as New Democrats. I think it is important to talk about this motion on employment insurance and the issues around it. I want to make sure that I am clear, as I am splitting the time with the member for Burnaby—New Westminster. I am very happy to do so as he has spoken many times about the issues of trade that affect this country, as well as issues related to the manufacturing sector and the forestry sector where we see a high degree of unemployment. I want to go back in terms of looking at this current situation through the lens of a working class town. Windsor has been very much a part of the economic hub of Ontario and Canada for many years. It has contributed to the coffers of this nation for a number of different generations, quite successfully, through hard work, innovation and being the leaders in auto manufacturing, as well as participating in the tourism economy and other types of economies of scale but in particular the automotive sector. We have literally paid into the employment insurance program significantly over the years. It is important to note that now that the tables have turned, so to speak, we are seeing a problem with the overall economy in the world, we are suffering with high unemployment. We have been raising these alarm bells for a long time, back in 2007, back in 2008, very clearly indicating to the government that there was a problem. Astonishingly the Prime Minister and his think tank around him, which is very much a shallow pool, were basically denying that there was a problem. We can remember quite clearly that during the election the Prime Minister pontificated not only that the economy in Canada was significantly fine and would actually improve but there would be growth and surpluses. On top of that he suggested that during this little instability with the financial markets there were lots of deals to be had. Lastly, he even stated that Canadian property owners would not see a depreciation of their properties. These were all things that we had been telling the government and the previous administration was not true over a number of different years. Seeing those consequences, it is important to acknowledge that as we saw the tightening around the competitiveness issues in the automotive sector, the Canadian auto workers, the men and women who got up every single day, even the non-unionized ones, did a very significant job of making sure their productivity value was extremely high. In fact it compares favourably to Japan, Germany and other nations. They provided a number of different savings prior to going into this crisis, and in fact negotiated agreements from the CAW resulting in agreemen