House of Commons Hansard #49 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was benefits.

Topics

Nigeria
Statements By Members

May 6th, 2004 / 2:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jason Kenney Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, five years ago the governor of the northern Nigerian province of Zamfara declared his province an Islamic state and began the introduction of an extreme version of Sharia law, contrary to the Nigerian constitution.

In the following months, Governor Sani destroyed or shut down several Christian churches and has gone so far as to sentence women to death by stoning for engaging in extramarital sex.

The Nigerian constitution states that every person shall be entitled to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, much to its credit. Yet last week Governor Sani ordered the demolition of all churches and non-Islamic worship centres and launched phase two of his extreme agenda.

I would ask all my colleagues in the House to join me in condemning this blatant persecution of people of faith and the destruction of houses of worship in Nigeria. Canada must use whatever influence it has with Nigeria and other African countries to demand an end to these abominable crimes against freedom of religion and conscience.

Burlington Citizen of the Year
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Paddy Torsney Burlington, ON

Mr. Speaker, tonight my community of Burlington, Ontario will honour one of its greatest champions and supporters as Citizen of the Year.

Keith Strong has had many accomplishments during his very successful business career, but it is the work he has done to build our community that distinguishes him.

A past president of the Burlington Economic Development Corporation, Keith has been instrumental in bringing people together to improve our fellow citizens' quality of life in a variety of ways.

For instance, together with Dorothy Borovich, he helped develop Youthfest. Now in its second year, Youthfest is a local festival promoting volunteerism, philanthropy and fun among Burlington's youth. It features diverse community organizations and encourages people to do more.

Keith Strong's dedication to his community has enriched all of its fellow citizens. I wish to express thanks to Keith Strong as well as congratulations to him on being named Burlington's Citizen of the Year.

Palliative Care Week
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Yolande Thibeault Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, this week is Palliative Care Week.

With an ageing population, the need for palliative care will increase dramatically. It is therefore critical to pay special attention to this need, so as to provide to the sick a constant presence in the journey toward the end of their lives, and to allow close ones to get the necessary support during this difficult time.

I want to congratulate the Government of Canada for taking compassionate action regarding this issue by offering eligible workers six weeks of paid leave to care for a parent, a spouse or a child who is seriously ill or dying.

Thanks to the compassionate family care benefits, terminally ill patients will be able to live in dignity and be accompanied by their close ones to the end.

Veterans Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, many D-Day veterans are upset that they will not be able to attend the celebrations in Normandy. Only 60 veterans are being taken by the government, yet the government has the money to take over 70 government support staff.

I wonder if the Prime Minister would reconsider and take all the veterans who want to go to Normandy.

Veterans Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Veterans Affairs is already looking into ways in which we can augment the number and improve the situation. Obviously, that is a matter which the government takes very seriously.

Veterans Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, time is running out. Let me impress upon the Prime Minister what one D-Day veteran, Bruce Melanson, had to say:

What we got today and this scandal of monies being thrown around...why don't they throw a little bit at us, at the veterans?

This ceremony is to celebrate history but in this case we have living history. Does the Prime Minister not agree that sending our veterans to Normandy is a small price to pay for the service they have given this country?

Veterans Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I very much share the views that have been expressed. There is no doubt of the tremendous debt succeeding generations owe to the veterans of all our great wars. The fact is that I saw Mr. Melanson on television last night and he makes a very strong case.

We, as Canadians, owe a tremendous debt to those who gave their lives and those who fought for us, and the government certainly intends to recognize that. That is what, in fact, June 6 is all about.

Veterans Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I am going to continue to press the Prime Minister for a very clear commitment.

With the half a million dollars that he spent on all his various pre-election trips on the Challengers, we could have sent 60 additional veterans to Normandy. This is not a matter of money. It is a matter of priorities. This is not supposed to be a photo op for politicians. It is supposed to be to honour what the veterans achieved.

Will the Prime Minister do the right thing and commit the government to paying for any veteran who is willing and able to attend the ceremonies?

Veterans Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Markham
Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, as the minister for the department whose sole preoccupation is the well-being of veterans, and as one whose father was a second world war veteran, I sympathize very much with the situation.

However, following past practices and the practices of our allies, we invite the 60 regiments or military associations that were involved in D-Day to nominate their own representatives. Those people, along with the attendants, will be in the official delegation.

Standing Committee on Public Accounts
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

I guess that is no, Mr. Speaker.

The member for Hillsborough, with the backing of the PMO, seeks to put a stake through the public accounts committee. Today he tabled a motion to wrap up in advance of testimony from over 90 witnesses, making way for a whitewash and a spring election. This smacks of the Somali inquiry with important evidence missing and work not done. A flawed report is worse than no report.

Why has the Prime Minister broken his word by ordering the shutdown of the public accounts committee?

Standing Committee on Public Accounts
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I have not ordered anything at all. The public accounts committee is the master of its own destiny.

However, why do the members of the opposition, who ought to recognize that they are ultimately accountable to the people of Canada, and given the fact that the public accounts committee has now been sitting for quite some time, think that the committee should not prepare a report so that the Canadian people will know what has taken place over the last number of months? What is the opposition afraid of?

Standing Committee on Public Accounts
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, because, quite simply, the work is not done and Canadians deserve the whole truth, not this government whitewash.

The exact problem is the absence of responsibility and accountability. It appears there are lots of smoking guns in this issue but nobody wants to identify the shooter. The victim in all this is the Canadian taxpayer. The committee has been deemed a farce by the Prime Minister. The judicial inquiry will not complete its work until December 2005, a full 18 months from now.

Why is the Prime Minister killing the efforts of the public accounts committee to deliver on his promise to the Canadian public to get to--

Standing Committee on Public Accounts
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. parliamentary secretary.

Standing Committee on Public Accounts
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

St. Catharines
Ontario

Liberal

Walt Lastewka Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, let us understand that it was the Liberal members, the government side of the public accounts committee, who pushed the committee to publish the Guité report. It was the government members who pushed to have Mr. Quail back. The government members called the key witnesses, like the Auditor General, to define things clearly, like she did today.

The fact is that the government has done an excellent job on ensuring that we have the inquiry go and the RCMP go. Now it is time for the researchers to do their synopsis.

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, instead of assuming his responsibilities for health care funding, the Prime Minister is suggesting that Quebec collect more taxes. This suggestion was categorically rejected by the Quebec finance minister. What Yves Séguin wants instead is to see Ottawa transfer the GST to Quebec.

Does the Prime Minister intend to respond promptly, and favourably, to this request by Yves Séguin, in order to provide better funding for health care services?