House of Commons Hansard #156 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was history.

Topics

2 p.m.

The Speaker

As is our practice on Wednesday we will now sing O Canada, and we will be led by the hon. member for Don Valley East.

Aboriginal Affairs
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Nancy Karetak-Lindell Nunavut, NU

Mr. Speaker, a historic meeting will take place in Kelowna between the Prime Minister and aboriginal leaders at the first ministers meeting.

The dedication shown by this government in addressing the many issues facing aboriginal peoples of Canada has been steadfast.

This government is committed to closing the gap in living standards between aboriginals and other Canadians, not because it is the interest of the week or to score cheap political points but because we want real partnerships and community solutions, and chances for the first peoples of Canada to establish their rightful place in this country as contributors to society and because it is the right thing to do.

Jose Kusugak, President of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, always notes that Inuit are first Canadians but Canadians first, and they want to do their part for a healthy united Canada.

I know a great deal of hard work and collaborative efforts by all partners have gone into preparing for this meeting and I look forward to the concrete results. I wish the Prime Minister great success.

Veterans
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Werner Schmidt Kelowna, BC

Mr. Speaker, in the final days of the Year of the Veteran, Canadian veterans are being punished by the government.

Under the Canadian Forces Superannuation Act, veterans who marry after 60 cannot leave their survivors a portion of their pension, but veterans married before 60 can. These veterans have contributed equally to that pension plan, yet they are not entitled to the same benefits.

The government tells them to put aside money, overlooking the fact that veterans are senior citizens living on fixed incomes. Is this the dignity the government says they deserve?

Decorated veterans like Pete Buell of Halifax, Helen Rapp of Ottawa or Gordon Read of Kelowna want change. Veterans associations across Canada want change. On this side of the House, we also agree.

Give the veterans fair and equal treatment. Amend the Canadian Forces Superannuation Act. Our veterans stood up for Canada. Is it not time the Ministers of National Defence and Veterans Affairs stood up for them?

Pakistan
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Gurbax Malhi Bramalea—Gore—Malton, ON

Mr. Speaker, I remain concerned about religious discrimination against minorities in Pakistan. In the face of persecution in Pakistan, Ahmadis and Christians advocate universal human rights, tolerance and deliberation. Much more work still needs to be done to ensure the rights and protection of women and minorities in Pakistan.

I call upon the Minister of Foreign Affairs to engage in a dialogue with his counterparts in Pakistan, encouraging them to review current laws that discriminate against religious minorities and to intervene on behalf of Ahmadis, Christians and other minorities by calling for the repeal of the anti-blasphemy provisions under the authority of international law. Until international law speaks to the issue, the persecution of minorities will continue.

The right to freedom of religion or belief is a fundamental human right that must be protected in Pakistan and around the world.

Violence Against Aboriginal Women
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Cleary Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Mr. Speaker, in a recent report, Amnesty International calls Ottawa's handling of this issue a "shameful" lack of concern for missing and murdered aboriginal women.

Action is urgently needed, especially since the whereabouts of some 500 of these women remain unknown.

The Prime Minister should raise this important issue at his upcoming meeting with aboriginal leaders.

Also, the Minister of Canadian Heritage should give aboriginal women the $10 million requested for their campaign to raise awareness of the tragedy they are experiencing.

The Bloc Québécois denounces violence against aboriginal women and blames the silence of the federal government.

Canadian Islamic Congress
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Eleni Bakopanos Ahuntsic, QC

Mr. Speaker, last week the Canadian Islamic Congress hosted its seventh annual gala dinner on Parliament Hill. The theme of this year's gala event was “Honouring Canadian Muslims' Contributions to the World of Business”. During the dinner, a series of awards were given to a number of deserving individuals.

It is my pleasure to note that among those honoured was Youssef Hariri, a law student and member of the executive committee of the Lebanese Islamic Centre located in my riding of Ahuntsic. He received the CIC 2005 Youth Community Award, which honours young Canadians under 30 years old who have given outstanding service to the Muslim community in Canada.

Congratulations, Mr. Hariri.

Member for Saskatoon--Rosetown--Biggar
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Carol Skelton Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, today I speak from a personal perspective. I would like, first of all, to thank Noel and the rest of my family, as well as my dedicated staff in Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar and Ottawa. They have allowed me to fairly and fully represent my constituents.

A minority Parliament has required me to be in Ottawa more than in the past. Being in attendance for every vote meant that I had to miss events I have attended in the past, but the understanding of my constituents has made this possible.

I also wish to thank the thousands who took the time to return my surveys. I enjoyed reading every one of them. It has truly been an honour to serve the thousands of Canadians that call our special part of Saskatchewan home. This overwhelming support and encouragement from my constituents makes me look forward to another term as their member of Parliament.

I look forward to seeing as many people as possible during the election and I encourage all Canadians to get out and vote. They can make a difference.

Order of Canada
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Walt Lastewka St. Catharines, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to rise on this occasion to offer my sincere congratulations to Mr. Paul Bosc Sr. of Château des Charmes wineries on his investiture as a Member of the Order of Canada.

Paul immigrated to Canada from his native Algeria about 40 years ago and settled in Montreal. Not long afterward, he relocated to Niagara to work for the former Chateau-Gai winery. Paul was its chief winemaker and director of research for 15 years. In 1978 he established his own winery, creating Château des Charmes. The winery now has more than 250 acres of vineyards and was one of the first wineries to cultivate European grapes.

Paul Bosc Sr. has played an important role in cultivating the wine industry in the Niagara region. He helped establish Brock University's Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute and Ontario's Vintners Quality Alliance or VQA.

As one of the pioneers of the Niagara wine industry, he is a most worthy recipient of the Order of Canada. Congratulations Paul Bosc Sr.

Notre-Dame-de-la-Présentation Church
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Marcel Gagnon Saint-Maurice—Champlain, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Notre-Dame-de-la-Présentation church in Shawinigan south is the home of famed painter Ozias Leduc's last major pieces of work and, as such, has been designated a historic site.

I want to acknowledge the hard work of the committee for the protection of the works of Ozias Leduc in securing this designation.

To mark the 50th anniversary of the death of the renowned artist, the committee wanted to display the exquisite decor inside this church. Regarded as his artistic legacy, these works blend spirituality and the history of the development of the Mauricie region.

I invite my colleagues to come and visit this historic site in Shawinigan, located a stone's throw from the Cité de l'énergie scientific theme park. One can enjoy a beautiful view of the Saint-Maurice River while strolling through the gardens surrounding the church. This is one more reason to visit the Mauricie region, a destination no one should miss.

Volunteerism
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Colleen Beaumier Brampton West, ON

Mr. Speaker, many immigrant volunteers in Canada rarely get the praise due to them. Because they are not yet part of the mainstream, their work goes unreported.

Today I would like to pay tribute to a group of Punjabi seniors who meet in Brampton every week to discuss issues which are of concern to them as a group and to the community at large. Most of them are retired and have small or no pensions, yet these fine men are truly lions. Most recently they financed 35 tents to be sent to the earthquake victims in Pakistan. There was no fanfare. They merely acted upon the teachings of their gurus.

We should be taking lessons from our immigrant communities. Age should be treated with respect. We warehouse our seniors, some in deplorable conditions. We ignore their opinions, dismissing them as out of fashion and we eliminate their visibility when they become an inconvenience.

I would like to name the group members, but there is no time. I am proud to call these Singhs my friends and will continue to seek their guidance in many fronts.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Merv Tweed Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Auditor General released a report that stated that the Liberal government was underfunding the RCMP. In Manitoba alone the government has cut 25 officers from the highway patrol unit.

Last Friday a local business woman from my constituency of Brandon--Souris had to call three RCMP detachments and wait five hours before an officer showed up, following a robbery at her rural grocery store. She stated that she felt very frustrated as they helplessly were forced to watch thieves take off with their goods.

In light of the Auditor General's report, the increasing street crime in Canada's cities and the lack of police manpower in rural communities, I call on the government to admit its Liberal soft on crime approach has failed Canadians and to state that a new Conservative government will end the useless long gun registry and give more support to our front line officers.

Team Saint John
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Zed Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, I rise this afternoon to recognize some visitors from my home town of Saint John, New Brunswick.

It has been my pleasure to host the five mayors from Greater Saint John. Mayor Norm McFarlane, Rothesay Mayor Bill Bishop, Ron Maloney of Quispamsis, Grace Losier of Grand Bay-Westfield and Jim Huttges of St. Martins are all part of Team Saint John.

Last year we had an extremely successful trip, and this year we have expanded our team to include the mayors and community leaders like Steve Carson and Dale Knox from Enterprise Saint John, Bob Manning from the Saint John Board of Trade and Tom Gribbons from Vibrant Communities.

We have been meeting with ministers of the cabinet, the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister and the finance, ACOA and immigration ministers. We have discussed the issues of concern to Greater Saint John, such as harbour cleanup, immigration and affordable housing.

Welcome back Team Saint John.

Pay Equity
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, recently I was asked by a student who was writing a paper on federal pay equity why the government was taking so long to draft proactive legislation. The Ministers of Labour and Justice appeared at the status of women committee this week to answer that question and their response was not reassuring.

Although the ministers referred to pay equity as a fundamental human right, they said nothing to indicate that we would see draft legislation any time soon.

The pay equity task force studied and consulted for more than three years. It produced a comprehensive report that called for proactive legislation and the establishment of an independent pay equity commission. That report was completed in May 2004 and still nothing from either department.

Women have read the report, have studied the recommendations and know there is no reason for this delay. The departments of justice and labour could immediately draft legislation based on the report's recommendations and move forward.

Canadian women want legislation, no more studies, no more consulting and no more Liberal excuses. Where is the legislation?

Operation Rudolph
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Stockwell Day Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to stand today to thank and congratulate the Canadian Coalition for Democracy for launching Operation Rudolph. Operation Rudolph is a grassroots initiative that will result in the delivery of gifts to each of 1,000 soldiers currently fighting on our behalf and for the people of Afghanistan. Included in these packages will also be personal “thank you” notes from supportive Canadians, many of whom are school children with a passion for our country.

Earlier today MPs and Senators of the Conservative Party of Canada proudly gave $2,500 toward Operation Rudolph's stated goal of $25,000. Anyone willing to do this also can contribute by visiting www.canadiancoalition.com for more information on Operation Rudolph.

From all sides of the House, we want to personally thank our troops worldwide for courageously standing up for Canadian values, the universal values of freedom, individual rights and democracy. Our gratitude and prayers go out to them and their families through this Christmas and holiday season.

André Cherrier
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, at the 18th international festival of the Order of the Canardiers, held on October 22, in Rouen, Normandy, André Cherrier from Prévost was awarded the title of master duck breeder.

This honour is all the more prestigious since the owner of Canards, Délices et Pommes is only the third person in the world to receive this title.

In addition to adeptly managing his business, Mr. Cherrier invented a beautiful and modern duck press, which was used during this renowned festival's reception.

Today, it is my pleasure to welcome André Cherrier and his wife, Diane Couët, to Parliament Hill and tell them how proud I am of their success.

The Bloc Québécois salutes your company's contribution to the Laurentian region, applauds your success and congratulates you on this well-earned international honour. Three cheers for you.

Sponsorship Program
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Nepean—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, actions speak louder than words and Allan Cutler's actions to defend taxpayers from Liberal corruption and Liberal theft speak louder than the Prime Minister's loudest rhetoric.

Cutler has always been on the side of the folks who work hard, play by the rules and pay their taxes, and he has proven it. He refused to sign the dirty Liberal contracts and blew the whistle on the Liberal ad scam. Since then the former public servant has become Canada's renowned authority on accountability and ethics. He has never been political, never run for office, never even planned on it, but the Conservative Party's accountability act changed all that.

In it, Mr. Cutler saw hope for a clean, merit-driven public service and an accountable government. Today he announced plans to be part of that accountable Conservative government as the next member of Parliament for Ottawa South.

On behalf of the thousands of public servants in my riding, I thank Mr. Cutler for standing up for Canada once again.

Charles V. Keating
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Michael John Savage Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, early Tuesday morning Charles V. Keating passed away in Dartmouth. Mr. Keating was a Nova Scotia legend and exceptional businessman, a philanthropist, a community builder and a humanitarian.

He was a man unabashedly proud of his family, his community and his country. The many awards he has received, including the Order of Canada and the Order of Nova Scotia are well deserved in recognition of his exemplary community service.

Few Nova Scotians have a longer list of accomplishments, but to many people the legacy of Charles Keating will be his simply values of faith, family and community. Where I live so many people have a story of his generosity and that generosity was always directed to those most in need and usually done quietly so as to avoid any embarrassment to those being helped.

Few people were prouder Canadians and most of us have heard his rousing rendition of O Canada. He also was proud of his Irish heritage. Another famous North American of Irish heritage once said, “Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country”. What Charles Keating did for his country and his community is incredible.

Like so many thousands of Nova Scotians, I will miss Charles Keating but I know his work will continue through Marilyn, through Anne Marie, through Greg, Kathy and Mike, Susan and John and his treasured grandchildren.

Air-India
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, today the government announced it will not go with the full public inquiry on the Air-India bombing. This is seven months after Parliament approved an opposition motion calling for a public inquiry to take place.

If the government had followed the wishes of Parliament and the wishes of the families rather than wasting time and money on this report, it would have had the facts out in the public by now.

When the government waits until the eve of an election to make such a wishy-washy announcement, why should anyone take it seriously?

Air-India
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Edmonton Centre
Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, I find particularly offensive the implicit character assassination of the Hon. Bob Rae, former premier of the province of Ontario.

Let me be absolutely clear. We asked the Hon. Bob Rae, an independent fact-finder, to determine whether there were questions that remained to be answered. He took up that challenge. He worked with the families. He has established relationships with the families. He did his work in good faith. He has identified those questions, and I have indicated that I will accept his recommendations.

Government Contracts
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, a new government will get on with the real inquiry.

Today we learned that Liberal pollster Michael Marzolini did not have to wait for an election. His firm, Pollara, received a $90,000 verbal contract from the Department of National Defence. This was after the Auditor General denounced the government for awarding verbal contracts.

In light of this and the revelations on David Herle, will the Prime Minister come clean and care to tell us about any other Liberals who received inappropriate contracts?

Government Contracts
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Kings—Hants
Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, this is what the Auditor General said about public opinion research for the government:

Overall, public opinion research was managed transparently, with roles and responsibilities clearly defined.

We have taken steps to strengthen public opinion research. We continue to do so, as does the private sector. We will continue to engage Canadians, seek their input and build public policies that reflect their values.

Government Policies
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, fortunately we soon will not have to listen to answers like that for a long, long time.

It appears that Liberal penance is expensive. Since the Gomery report, the Prime Minister has been making spending promises at the rate of $1 billion a day, and that does not even include the recent mini-budget.

Since most of these announcements are not funded in any of the three budgets the Liberals tabled this year, why should anyone believe these promises?

Government Policies
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Edmonton Centre
Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, we are in the business of governing. We are in the business of fulfilling commitments that were made in either the Speech from the Throne or our budgets.

I would love to know from the opposition members which of these things they would not do: compensation for residential school victims, forestry sector aid, support for affordable housing or better services for immigrants. Let us hear from those people which of those would they not fund. Which of those do they not support to improve the quality of life in the country for all Canadians?

Government Policies
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

Peter MacKay Central Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, the real question is, which of these things will the Liberals actually do? They have had 12 years to do it.

Billions of dollars were announced today in spending with no accountability mechanisms built in. Justice Gomery said that the poorly planned sponsorship program was:

-- a depressing story of multiple failures to plan a government program appropriately and to control waste—a story of greed, venality and misconduct...

This vote-buying spree with no clear plans will only perpetuate that type of waste. Has the Prime Minister learned nothing from ad scam? Why would any Canadian believe he actually intends to do these things?

Government Policies
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Kings—Hants
Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, this is what Justice Gomery said in his report:

The persons responsible for these irregularities have been identified and reproached for their errors and misconduct. The procedure for uncovering wrongdoing is ponderous and expensive, but in the long run it works fairly well.

Canadians should not forget that the vast majority of our public officials and politicians do their work honestly, diligently and effectively, and emerged from this inquiry free of blame. Justice Gomery did not tarnish the reputations of everybody who works hard on behalf of Canadians, like that hon. member is doing.

Air-India
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Conservative

Peter MacKay Central Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, we can kiss off that promise.

Today the government announced a costly and unsuccessful step in the tragic 20 year journey of pain for the families of Air-India, more unanswered questions.

The hesitant half measures announced today by the rushed report from Liberal recruit Bob Rae do not respond to the numerous concerns raised by the victims' families. They include issues of terrorist funding, immigration, judicial accountability and witness intimidation.

Will the Deputy Prime Minister commit today to follow the wishes of the families, respect the will of Parliament and have a broad, inclusive, headed by a judge, public inquiry and finally let justice be done into the worst mass murders and terrorist attacks in Canadian history?

Air-India
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Edmonton Centre
Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, as I have just indicated, I will accept the recommendations of the Hon. Bob Rae in relation to the second stage of this investigation or inquiry. He has identified for us the questions that we can answer and that will ensure, we hope, that this kind of tragedy does not happen again and does not befall the families of other victims.

I also want to inform the House that I had the opportunity to meet with the families just a little while ago. I have indicated that I will look at their additional questions and some of them will be added--

Air-India
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Laurier—Sainte-Marie.

Public Safety
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier, QC

Mr. Speaker, we have questioned the Minister of Public Safety about U.S. prison planes stopping over in Canadian airports. The minister responded that she had no information about such allegations. So the hon. member for Marc-Aurèle-Fortin sent her a letter informing her of the flight numbers and asked her to conduct a follow-up.

Has the minister followed up? If so, can she tell us if these U.S. planes carrying prisoners who might be tortured did indeed come through Canada?

Public Safety
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Edmonton Centre
Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, I did receive such a letter yesterday afternoon after question period. I have referred the letter to my department officials and have asked them to follow up on the issues raised by the hon. member.

I go back to what I said before. I have received no information or evidence whatsoever that those planes were involved in any act that one would describe as extraordinary rendition.

I want it to be absolutely clear that we have not in this country returned anyone to a country where they would face a substantial risk of torture.

Public Safety
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier, QC

Mr. Speaker, I was certainly not expecting the CIA to call first to warn her that planes carrying prisoners would stop over here on their way to other countries.

Rather, we are asking her to verify this, and I am surprised that she has not taken the time to do so. This has been in the papers for several days now. Surely she reads the papers.

Public Safety
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Public Safety
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier, QC

If the Minister of Transport would pipe down, I will continue.

As a matter of fact, the minister has not verified anything, while other countries have. Does she take this seriously or is she trying, instead, to do what she did in the Maher Arar case, meaning do nothing and let human rights abuses occur?

Public Safety
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Edmonton Centre
Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, as I just said, I received the letter yesterday. I referred the letter to my department officials and have asked them to follow up.

Let me again go back to what I have said. I have received no information that would indicate that any plane has landed in Canada anywhere that has been involved in the act of extraordinary rendition.

However I received the letter and I have asked my officials to follow up.

Public Safety
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Ménard Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister has already told us on several occasions that, to her knowledge, there was no information indicating, and no real reason to believe, that CIA prison planes had landed in Newfoundland. There can be no flights over Canadian territory without our knowledge and without the filing of a flight plan.

I have two very simple questions for the minister. Was she aware of the existence of those flights? Was she aware that CIA-owned aircraft had used Canadian territory to carry out their operations?

Public Safety
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Edmonton Centre
Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, as I have said, I have no knowledge that any planes were used in relation to the act of extraordinary rendition.

I have received the hon. member's letter and I have asked my officials to follow up on his letter. In fact, if he has some secret information it might be very useful if he shared it with us.

Public Safety
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Ménard Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Mr. Speaker, we understand that she does not know, but what we would like to know is this: does she want to know? Several countries have expressed concerns and are calling upon the United States for explanations because they fear human rights have been violated.

Is the minister herself not concerned by that possibility? Rather than repeating that she has no information, ought she not to be concerned with wondering whether this impacts on Canada's international responsibility, or whether the horrible experience of Maher Arar is not being repeated because of her indifference?

Public Safety
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Papineau
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the Deputy Prime Minister has been very clear. We have no reliable information, nor any reason that would lead us to believe that the aircraft that landed at St. John's was anything other than a private plane. If we were to learn that the U.S. was indeed using Canadian territory for those purposes, we would obviously raise the issue with the appropriate American authorities.

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister likes to claim that he has done a great deal to combat climate change. He loves talking about it. He even promised to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20%. Yet, 12 years after these Liberal promises, we are told that Canada's emissions have not decreased, but increased by 24%, the worst record of any developed nation.

Can the Prime Minister explain to us why he is doing the direct opposite of what he promised?

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville
Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, it would be correct to say, as I have said many times, that Canada is far from having the toughest objective to reach among the Kyoto protocol signatory countries. That is why we must all work together to achieve it and we have a plan for that.

However, it seems that working all together unfortunately does not include the leader of the NDP, who instead of giving Canada every chance by avoiding an election at the very moment we are hosting a conference on climate change, has chosen to join forces with the Conservative leader, who wants to kill Kyoto and the separatist leader, who wants to destroy Canada. Shame on the leader of the NDP.

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the fact is that Liberal words on climate change mean nothing. It is their actions that speak louder. Our emissions are dramatically up; over $1 billion in subsidies to oil and coal. We have no strategy to produce cars that produce less emissions even though the NDP offered one to the government over two years ago.

Now we have the Oshawa plant needing to produce a new model. Why is there no plan to start building the green cars that Canadians want, that can reduce pollution right here in Canada and have them built in Oshawa with Canadian workers?

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville
Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I will be very pleased to send a new copy of the climate change plan to the leader of the NDP. He will see that we will invest $10 billion over the years to decrease greenhouse gas emissions. I am very proud that Canada yesterday listed greenhouse gas emissions against CEPA. We did it and we would have been pleased to do it with the leader of the NDP. However, instead of that, he wants to join the Conservative leader who wants to kill Kyoto. It is a shame.

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

Bob Mills Red Deer, AB

Mr. Speaker, I want to repeat that just days before the COP 11 conference in Montreal, we have this new report from the UN. It shows Canada is the worst performer on the planet when it comes to reducing greenhouse gases. We are 25% above 1990 levels and that number is growing.

Canadians want to know how the environment minister will explain this embarrassment in front of the world?

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville
Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, Canada has a very growing economy because of this government protecting our industries. Instead of our industries going to China and other countries, the industries stay in Canada. It good for the environment because we have the capacity to decrease emissions with good technology and we will do it through a very compelling climate change plan. What party is speaking? A party that has no plan, no commitment and no conviction about the environment.

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Chong Wellington—Halton Hills, ON

Mr. Speaker, just a few days before the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Montreal we have a new UN report indicating that Canada is the worst country on the planet in terms of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

For 12 years this government has been long on promises and short on action and our emissions have increased by 24% according to the report.

Will the government be frank enough to admit that the Kyoto plan has resulted in increased emissions?

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville
Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, he is talking through his hat. Emissions would increase if we did what the Conservatives want to do, which is nothing at all—in other words, withdraw from the Kyoto protocol thereby upsetting the world wide balance required if we are to reduce emissions everywhere.

I remind hon. members that the Conservative critic said that Conservatives should not go before the electorate without a plan to address climate change. They still do not have a plan and Canadians will let them know how they feel about it.

Canada Steamship Lines
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

Jeff Watson Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, former Canada Steamship Lines' chief engineers recently pulled back the veil of secrecy on CSL operations. CSL ships, they report, have been dumping tonnes of ore pellets into the Great Lakes when no one was looking. Sierra Club director, Elizabeth May, said that it was illegal. The present Prime Minister agreed in 1990 when he said, “Poisoning the water is a crime and persistent and wilful polluters must be treated as criminals and criminals must go to jail”.

When will the Prime Minister commit his government to pursue legal action against CSL for polluting our Great Lakes?

Canada Steamship Lines
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Halifax West
Nova Scotia

Liberal

Geoff Regan Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, this government takes the quality of our lakes and the environment very seriously and acts assiduously. The Coast Guard of course does this, as well as Transport Canada.

My hon. colleague should support the measures this government has taken in this regard.

Canada Steamship Lines
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

Jeff Watson Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, he missed the point. Canada Steamship Lines broke the law. It illegally dumped tonnes of ore pellets into the Great Lakes when no one was looking, and apparently not even the Prime Minister when he held active management of CSL.

Mark Mattson, water quality watchdog, said, “You can't put anything on the bottom of the lake.... There is no way around the laws...”, unless perhaps one becomes a cabinet minister or a prime minister.

Canada Steamship Lines repeatedly broke the law. Why will the Prime Minister not commit his government to legal action against CSL? Is the family business entitled to pollute?

Canada Steamship Lines
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville
Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, nobody is above the law. Everybody must respect the law. If anything happens in this country that is outside the law we act because we have regulations. It is because we have an environmental policy, something that the Conservative Party is unable to imagine.

Immigration
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Meili Faille Vaudreuil-Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, when the Immigration Act was amended in 2002, the government dropped the number of board members hearing refugee claims from two to one. In order to allay concerns over this, the former Minister of Citizenship and Immigration said in June 2002 that he had promised the Canadian Council for Refugees that there would be an appeal division within the year.

Why has the current Minister of Citizenship and Immigration decided not to implement the refugee appeal division, thereby reneging on a commitment his own colleague made?

Immigration
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence
Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, the UN still considers us a world leader, particularly in this area where we have excellent results. For example, there was a 2% increase last year in the number of refugees admitted to Canada.

I hope that the hon. member will recognize the excellent results of our system.

Immigration
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Meili Faille Vaudreuil-Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, according to the Canada Border Services Agency, Ottawa has lost track of 43,000 illegal immigrants, a 20% increase since 2002. The lack of an appeal division encourages people to go into hiding because they have no faith in the system.

Will the minister admit that not only is his decision not to implement the appeal division irresponsible with regard to human rights, but it flies in the face of Canada's international commitments?

Immigration
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence
Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member refuses to recognize that, according to the UN, Canada leads the way in this regard.

Textile and Clothing Industry
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Rivière-Du-Loup—Montmagny, QC

Mr. Speaker, on October 5, the House of Commons formally called upon the government to establish a policy of assistance to the textile and clothing industries. The textile and clothing industries really need that policy to be put in place now.

Will the Minister of Finance decide to announce this plan, which is essential to the survival of these industries and of hundreds of jobs?

Textile and Clothing Industry
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Brossard—La Prairie
Québec

Liberal

Jacques Saada Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec and Minister responsible for the Francophonie

Mr. Speaker, on October 28, 2005, the Government of Canada announced the elimination of the 14% customs tariff on imported fabrics. That measure is retroactive to January 1, 2005. It will save Canadian manufacturers in the order of $29 million annually. This is in addition to the program for Canadian textiles, through which 173 projects have been approved in Quebec, for a total of $10.3 million. It is also in addition to CANtex, which has allocated $26.7 million nationally since October 13, 2004, $14.6 million of that in Quebec. In Quebec alone, 43 projects were approved for a total of $3.2 million.

Textile and Clothing Industry
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Rivière-Du-Loup—Montmagny, QC

Mr. Speaker, the House of Commons demanded a new policy back on October 5, 2005, and the current government's actions do not include it.

This reminds us of the softwood lumber situation, where it took the government three and one-half years to finally heed the demands of the Bloc Québécois and to come up with some semblance of a plan.

Is the minister waiting for the textile and clothing industries to disappear completely before announcing any concrete measures to save them from the catastrophe everyone can see coming? It will be on the government's head.

Textile and Clothing Industry
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Brossard—La Prairie
Québec

Liberal

Jacques Saada Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec and Minister responsible for the Francophonie

Mr. Speaker, I would tell my hon. colleague to go and see how things are at Stedfast, in Granby, or Empire Shirt in Louiseville, before saying that the textile industry is doomed.

Those people over there are constantly making more demands, but when they have an opportunity to walk the talk, they do not take it. When a budget increase was proposed to help that sector, they refused it. They voted against that budget. This is hypocritical. I keep on saying this, and will continue to say it over the coming weeks: they have no right and no credibility in that sector.

Income Trusts
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance is sending the signal that he might be starting the very long climb down from the income trust debacle. After devastating the markets by musing about whether trusts had a future under his watch, he then told the House that three-quarters of the public were with him on the trust issue. Yeah right, we really believe that.

Now that the minister has had his nose bloodied by seniors and small investors who rely on income trusts, will he finally back away and declare that income trusts are here to stay and he will not raise taxes on them?

Income Trusts
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, we are conducting a very useful consultation process that has elicited a number of valuable points of view.

It is very important when making decisions to base those decisions on the best advice one can get. Many of those seniors to whom the hon. gentleman has referred and many other Canadians have come forward to give me the benefit of their opinions and I value those opinions.

Income Trusts
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, while the minister is doing his navel gazing, seniors are taking a beating in the market. That is the problem.

It is all very interesting following along where the minister's mind leads him today, but investors need some certainty. Yesterday he said he wanted to give investors some certainty, so here is his big chance.

Income trust investors everywhere want to know, will the minister commit to levelling the playing field between income trusts and other investment vehicles without raising taxes on income trusts?

Income Trusts
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the government has acted consistently in the best interests of senior citizens. We have raised RSP limits. We have removed the foreign property rule. We are increasing the GIS. We are reducing taxes on senior citizens. We are removing 240,000 seniors from the tax rolls altogether. We have rendered the Canada pension plan actuarially sound for the next 75 years. We have indexed the tax system against the impact of inflation.

This government has acted on behalf of seniors. We will continue to act in the best interests of seniors.

Transportation
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

James Moore Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Auditor General criticized Transport Canada's mismanagement of the Quebec bridge file. Only 40% of the work has been completed, and more than $60 million has already been spent. Transport Canada and CN cannot agree on who is to foot the rest of the bill. We are talking about a historic site here, and a vital infrastructure.

Why can the Minister of Transport not come to an agreement and meet the expectations of the City of Quebec?

Transportation
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Outremont
Québec

Liberal

Jean Lapierre Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, we have indeed done all we could to reach an agreement with CN and force it to complete the restoration of the Quebec bridge. Unfortunately, although we have had one meeting with the president and another meeting with officials, CN is not prepared to understand. Consequently, my patience has run out and today I instructed my attorneys to give CN formal notice to complete the work or face court proceedings.

Automobile Industry
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Colin Carrie Oshawa, ON

Mr. Speaker, the rotting Liberal ship is sinking and the government is taking the manufacturing sector down with it.

Last spring the Liberal trade minister said, “It does not matter how many manufacturing jobs we lose to foreign and overseas labour markets”. This week the industry minister classified the effects of 3,900 layoffs at GM as somewhat exaggerated.

Will the minister come to Oshawa, explain to the affected families that their job losses are exaggerated and reassure them, as he assured us on Monday, there will be no pink slips given out by GM?

Automobile Industry
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Vancouver Kingsway
B.C.

Liberal

David Emerson Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I think it would be appropriate for the hon. member to read what Buzz Hargrove had to say. He said:

We've already tried Harper's vision: cut taxes and wait for the jobs to come flowing in. It doesn't work.

If we want a competitive auto industry, we need government to play an active role.

He said that their members' jobs and the future of their communities are at risk with a Harper victory.

Automobile Industry
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member should not refer to members by name, but by their title. I think the hon. member was referring to the Leader of the Opposition.

Lobbyists
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Brent St. Denis Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, ON

Mr. Speaker, considering the importance of the issue, can the Minister of Industry inform the House about the role of the Registrar of Lobbyists and his vision for the future of the Lobbyists Registration Act?

Lobbyists
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Vancouver Kingsway
B.C.

Liberal

David Emerson Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I have mentioned to the House a number of times that the Lobbyists Registration Act does require some strengthening. We have encountered difficulties in administering the act. I am announcing today the government's intent to amend the act.

We will strengthen enforcement, number one. We will enhance the independence of the Registrar of Lobbyists, number two. Number three, we will ensure that the Registrar of Lobbyists has the necessary resources. Specifically, we will increase fines, introduce administrative monetary penalties, extend the limitation period and strengthen the--

Lobbyists
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Burnaby—New Westminster.

Terasen Inc.
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the U.S. said it would continue to impose illegal tariffs on softwood for 45 days and then let George Bush decide whether to respect NAFTA. That is another $200 million gone to Washington and the Liberal government gives away our leverage.

The Liberals have handed over Terasen, Canada's third largest utility, to a company with an appalling environmental and safety record owned by a George Bush bagman. The message to Mr. Bush is it is open season on Canada.

British Columbians have said no. Will the government halt the takeover approval and hold public hearings now?

Terasen Inc.
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Westmount—Ville-Marie
Québec

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

First, Mr. Speaker, let me assure you that the acquisition is of benefit to Canada, considering what the investment is about. It means hundreds of jobs for British Columbia and for Alberta. That is very good news.

We have consulted with the provinces of British Columbia and Alberta. Even the British Columbia Utilities Commission has done its own review and agrees with that acquisition. I think it is of benefit to Canadians.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, the Auditor General's report tabled yesterday revealed that, since 1999, the accumulated surplus in the EI account has grown from $21 billion to $48 billion. That is three times more than was considered sufficient in the chief actuary's 2001 report.

Given that the new legislation will ensure sufficient income to cover EI program costs, will the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development use the best 12 weeks of income to calculate benefits, so that workers can take advantage of this $48 billion that the Liberals have taken from them?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Newmarket—Aurora
Ontario

Liberal

Belinda Stronach Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and Minister responsible for Democratic Renewal

Mr. Speaker, first of all, I am pleased the Auditor General has recognized that our new EI premium rate setting process that we put in place in budget 2005 balances the inflows with the outflows.

The hon. member has asked about the 12 week program. We have moved to the best 14 weeks. We met our deadline. That should improve EI payments to those workers in seasonal industry jobs.

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Jason Kenney Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, back in 1990 when the Prime Minister was the environment critic for his party, he said that criminal polluters would go to jail. Now we have learned, according to people who used to work at his shipping empire, Canada Steamship Lines, that when he uttered those words, tonnes of ore pellets were being dumped by the Prime Minister's shipping empire into the Great Lakes, poisoning the water.

Canadians are used to two standards, one for normal Canadians and another one for Liberals who seem to be above the law. I would like to give the government an opportunity to say that it will investigate and prosecute the Prime Minister's family empire for poisoning the Great Lakes.

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Halifax West
Nova Scotia

Liberal

Geoff Regan Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, this government treats every Canadian the same. I find it remarkable and hypocritical to hear that party that opposes every environmental measure this government brings forward talk about the environment.

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Jason Kenney Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, lectures on hypocrisy from the Liberals.

The Prime Minister said, “poisoning the water is a crime and persistent and wilful polluters must be treated as criminals”. He said the same thing about the ad scam Liberals but none of them have gone to jail. Why is it that whenever a Liberal breaks the law it is okay, but ordinary Canadians have to pay the price?

It is a very simple question. Will the government in its dying days show that it has learned something from ad scam, that there is one rule of law in this country, and prosecute the Prime Minister's shipping empire for poisoning our water?

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Halifax West
Nova Scotia

Liberal

Geoff Regan Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, that is no more than empty rhetoric. No one is above the law and due process will follow. For that party that opposes every environmental measure to raise an issue like this is sheer hypocrisy.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Kevin Sorenson Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Auditor General criticized the government for shortfalls within RCMP resources for contract policing. Other RCMP personnel shortfalls are causing backlogs within DNA forensic labs, and with fingerprinting, background checks and access to information requests. These Liberal-made shortfalls are seriously jeopardizing public safety and delaying justice being served.

Can the minister tell the House how many RCMP positions were slashed and how many dollars were cut from its budget prior to 9/11 by the government?

Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Edmonton Centre
Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, one could not do much better than quote the Commissioner of the RCMP before committee. This is what the commissioner had to say:

It took the RCMP years to go from a zero budget to a $2 billion budget, but in the last six years our budget has gone from $2 billion to over $3 billion. I think that speaks to how much the government and society have supported our endeavours. We have received a lot of money.

Therefore, that means a lot of new resources.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Kevin Sorenson Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, one of the first things that the government did upon taking office was to slash 2,200 positions from the RCMP, a loss that has never been recouped.

If the Deputy Prime Minister wants to quote the RCMP commissioner, I will as well. He openly admitted that 2,000 officers were moved off organized crime files and other duties to respond to the terrorism crisis. The Canadian Police Association pleaded with the government to provide better funding after it identified serious shortfalls in local, provincial and national policing.

Why, when a policing shortfall was identified, did the government not respond immediately?

Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Edmonton Centre
Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, first of all, I find it amazing. The hon. member should know, because he serves on the public safety and emergency preparedness subcommittee of the justice committee, that there is not a police force in the western world that did not reallocate police resources after 9/11 to deal with the terrorist threat. I just hope he is not suggesting that.

Let me also tell the hon. member that in fact, RCMP Depot in Regina has received new resources. It is training more officers than ever. We are going to put more resources into RCMP Depot to increase its ability to train more resources.

Shipbuilding Industry
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Yves Roy Matapédia—Matane, QC

Mr. Speaker, in granting contracts to repair ships, the current government policy factors in the cost of moving the ships, which favours Maritime shipyards over those in Quebec.

Since the government is currently reviewing its policy, does it intend to consider regional equity in order to give Quebec's shipyards a real chance?

Shipbuilding Industry
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Vancouver Kingsway
B.C.

Liberal

David Emerson Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, we are working with the shipbuilding industry to ensure that government procurement--and there is going to be a large wave of procurement of vessels over the next 15 years--will go primarily to Canadian yards. We will be working closely with the industry to ensure that their areas of strength in technology and shipbuilding get built on and become part of a globally competitive industry.

Shipbuilding Industry
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Yves Roy Matapédia—Matane, QC

Mr. Speaker, those are just words. The lack of policy on shipbuilding allows the current Minister of Public Works and Government Services to favour the Irving shipyards over those in Quebec.

Does the minister realize that if there had been a true shipbuilding policy—as the Bloc has been asking for for 10 years—it would have favoured not only regional development, but also healthy competition and real distributive justice?

Shipbuilding Industry
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Vancouver Kingsway
B.C.

Liberal

David Emerson Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I really do not know what the hon. member is talking about. We are working with the industry to ensure that all operators, all shipbuilders and all people that are in the servicing end of that business, in all parts of Canada, have fair access to government shipbuilding contracts. That is going to be our approach going forward and that is going to be very healthy for the shipbuilding, services and repair industries.

Justice
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Daryl Kramp Prince Edward—Hastings, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the justice committee heard from Don Schiemann, father of slain RCMP officer Peter Schiemann. He stated that our justice system just simply is “not working” and said:

--change must begin here and now....if we bury our heads in academic sand and hide behind political expediency, then be assured we will have to deal with another March 3rd, and if for lack of change, the horror of March 3rd happens again, the blood of those men and women will be on our heads.

I ask the Prime Minister, how many preventable deaths will occur before this Liberal government finally gets serious about gun crime?

Justice
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Mount Royal
Québec

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I met yesterday with Reverend Schiemann. I spoke yesterday also with members of the African Canadian coalition who met with the Prime Minister. Both sought a balanced and inclusive package. That is exactly what we are introducing with 10 legislative measures, to be tabled this Friday, for more effective law enforcement.

There is one thing those members refuse to speak about, which is the hope and opportunities package for the victims of crime, rather than the exploiting of tragedy as those members seek to do every day in this House.

Justice
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

Nina Grewal Fleetwood—Port Kells, BC

Mr. Speaker, record numbers of murders are happening on the streets of the lower mainland of B.C. Already 34 people have been killed in gun violence this year. Two more were murdered this week.

Gun violence is not just a Toronto problem. It is a Canadian problem. While the Prime Minister is holding summits and committing millions of dollars to combat gun crimes in Toronto, British Columbians have had to set up community groups to tackle gun violence. When will the Prime Minister scrap the useless gun registry and start investing in more police for our streets?

Justice
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Mount Royal
Québec

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, with our initiatives to combat guns and gangs and urban violence we are legislating for the whole of Canada, not part of Canada.

Taxation
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

Ruby Dhalla Brampton—Springdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians from coast to coast are working day in and day out to build a better future for themselves, their children and their families.

In the economic and fiscal update, the government has promised to lower personal taxes for low and modest income Canadian families. Could the Minister of Finance please tell this House what this tax reduction that has been announced will mean to a Canadian family of four with a modest income?

Taxation
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, we are increasing the basic exemptions and we are reducing personal tax rates. For the average Canadian family of four earning $60,000, that will mean initially a saving of about 20%. It will mean ultimately, at the end of five years, a saving of 33% or a cumulative saving over that period of time of $3,300.

At the same time, we are investing in learning and skills and in innovation and trade. We are producing higher disposable incomes, a better standard of living and a stronger Canadian quality of life. That is what good government is all about.

Justice
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

Russ Hiebert South Surrey—White Rock—Cloverdale, BC

Mr. Speaker, Robert Osbourne, the “bait car” auto thief, was convicted in June of this past year, yet he is eligible for parole as early as this December. He is supposedly serving four years for a string of auto thefts and a reckless high speed chase. He exceeded speeds of 140 kilometres an hour in residential areas.

There have already been 11 deaths related to auto theft in B.C. this year. When will the justice minister stand up and stop parole for dangerous criminals? Why does four years mean only six months in the Liberal soft on crime justice system?

Justice
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Mount Royal
Québec

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, when we tabled the legislation with respect to conditional sentence reform, which regrettably we have not been able to get adopted, we made it clear that there will be no conditional sentences with regard to those who are engaged in those kinds of serious auto offences. We have also introduced legislation with respect to making street racing an aggravated offence. There have been a number of initiatives. If the opposition would have joined us in passing those initiatives, we would be combating those kinds of auto injuries and deaths.

Correctional Service of Canada
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

Mark Warawa Langley, BC

Mr. Speaker, Correctional Service of Canada officials have quietly hired handlers to follow released pedophiles everywhere they go. Two pedophiles in British Columbia who recently completed their jail sentences are considered extremely dangerous predators who will assault children again if left unsupervised. Most halfway houses in B.C. have rejected them as being too risky. It is absurd to think that they can successfully track pedophiles 24/7.

Why is the Liberal government putting children at risk by releasing extremely dangerous pedophiles into our communities?

Correctional Service of Canada
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Edmonton Centre
Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, I am sure the hon. member understands that if an accused person who is incarcerated has reached his warrant expiry date, there is absolutely no legal way that we can continue to hold him in a federal prison.

In fact, the police in the local jurisdiction can seek a section 810 order. Local prosecutors can, obviously at an earlier stage in the process, seek to have the person declared either a dangerous or a long term offender, but that has to be done at the time of the conviction and sentencing. Therefore, I think the--

Correctional Service of Canada
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Rimouski-Neigette--Témiscouata--Les Basques.

Pointe-au-Père Wharf
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Bloc

Louise Thibault Rimouski—Témiscouata, QC

Mr. Speaker, Transport Canada is responsible for the wharves it still owns. When human safety is at risk, work must be done as promptly as possible because any delay constitutes a real danger, even when a wharf has been declared out of service. That is the case with the Pointe-au-Père wharf, which is a threat to the community. Any delay is unacceptable and if the minister does not believe me, I have pictures that clearly illustrate my concerns.

Can the Minister of Transport tell us when the Pointe-au-Père wharf will be filled in with rock and made safe?

Pointe-au-Père Wharf
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Outremont
Québec

Liberal

Jean Lapierre Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, obviously wharves that are no longer used for fishing or commercial purposes and that have no takers in the community eventually have to be filled in with rock, as does the Pointe-au-Père wharf. We must do this as soon as possible. Unfortunately, eventually we must get rid of it for good. Then, over time, nature will take care of cleaning up the shore. This will be taken care of as soon as possible.

Public Service
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Marc Godbout Ottawa—Orléans, ON

Mr. Speaker, constituents in my riding are concerned about the under-representation of visible minorities in the federal public service, government agencies or as appointees on boards of crown corporations. What action does the President of the Treasury Board intend or plan to take to correct this situation?

Public Service
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Winnipeg South
Manitoba

Liberal

Reg Alcock President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, I wish to assure the member that the Prime Minister and this side of the House are absolutely committed to a public service that reflects the face of Canada. I can inform him that in three of the four categories we have met or exceeded our targets. In the final category, we are working hard to close the gap with the assistance of this member and the members for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, Etobicoke--Lakeshore and Brampton--Springdale.

Presence in Gallery
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

The Speaker

I would like to draw to the attention of hon. members the presence in the gallery of the winners of the 2005 Governor General's Literary Awards: M. Michel Bock, Mme. Isabelle Arsenault, Mme. Geneviève Billette, M. Camille Bouchard, Mr. David Gilmour, Mr. Rob Gonsalves, Ms. Anne Compton, M. Jean-Marc Desgent, Mr. John Mighton, Mme. Rachel Martinez, Mrs. Pamela Porter, Mr. Fred A. Reed, Mr. John Vaillant, and Ms. Aki Shimazaki.

Presence in Gallery
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear!

Canada's Performance 2005
Routine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Winnipeg South
Manitoba

Liberal

Reg Alcock President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, as part of our commitment to improve transparency and accountability to parliamentarians and Canadians, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, a report entitled “Canada’s Performance 2005: The Government of Canada’s Contribution”, on behalf of the people of Canada.

Air-India
Routine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Etobicoke North
Ontario

Liberal

Roy Cullen Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to table, in both official languages, a report entitled “Lessons to be Learned”, as completed by the hon. Bob Rae. This report advises the federal government on outstanding questions with respect to the bombing of Air-India flight 182.

On behalf of the Deputy Prime Minister, I want to thank Mr. Rae and his team for their excellent work on this report.

Certificates of Nomination
Routine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Beauséjour
New Brunswick

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to table one certificate of nomination which stands referred to the appropriate standing committee.

Order in Council Appointments
Routine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Beauséjour
New Brunswick

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to table a number of order in council appointments recently made by the government.

Government Response to Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Beauséjour
New Brunswick

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to table the government's response to four petitions.

Government Response to Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Conservative

John Cummins Delta—Richmond East, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. The government has been trying to peddle Ridley Terminals in Prince Rupert at a fire sale price for some time. I would like to point out that as yet the government has failed to table the 2004 annual report. I wonder if the minister responsible would give us some idea when that document would be tabled.

I have another point I would like to raise. The Ridley Terminals corporate plan summary for 2005 has not yet been tabled and the year is almost over. These documents should have been tabled some time ago. I wonder when we could expect them given the pending fire sale prices of the Ridley Terminals.

Government Response to Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, the government House leader assures me that these are very important documents and the likelihood of them being tabled quickly will extend with every week this Parliament continues to sit.

Canada Elections Act
Routine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Ottawa—Vanier
Ontario

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Minister for Internal Trade

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-79, An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act (third party election advertising).

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Interparliamentary Delegations
Routine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1), I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, the report of the Canada-France Inter-Parliamentary Association concerning its 33rd annual meeting, held in Vancouver, Victoria and Nanaimo, British Columbia, from August 28 to September 4, 2005.

Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

Bonnie Brown Oakville, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 17th report of the Standing Committee on Health. The committee has considered Bill C-420, an act to amend the Food and Drugs Act regarding the definitions of drug and the definition of food. Pursuant to Standing Order 97.1 the committee recommends that the House of Commons do not proceed further with this bill.

Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

Lynn Myers Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the ninth report of the Standing Committee on Industry, Natural Resources, Science and Technology in relation to the certificate of appointment of Suzanne Fortier to the position of President of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council.

Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

Bernard Patry Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the seventeenth report of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade. Pursuant to the order of reference of Monday, November 21, 2005, the committee considered Bill S-36, An Act to Amend the Export and Import of Rough Diamonds Act, and agreed on Tuesday, November 22, 2005, to report it without amendment.

Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Pablo Rodriguez Honoré-Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the fifth report of the Standing Committee on Official Languages. Pursuant to the order of reference of Thursday, October 27, 2005, the committee has considered vote 20a under Privy Council - Commissioner of Official Languages in the supplementary estimates (A) for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2006, and reports the same.

Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Raymonde Folco Laval—Les Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the 10th report of the Standing Committee on Human Resources Development, Skills Development, Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities in relation to its study on the Summer Career Placements Program.

The 14 recommendations contained in the report are presented in a spirit of cooperation on the part of all the witnesses who have testified before the committee and all committee members on both sides, to improve on a program that is already working very well and benefiting each summer thousands of students across Canada.

Both rural and urban communities from as far away as Labrador to small communities like Lindsay and Peterborough to British Columbia and beyond have benefited from this program. Broadening of accessibility and automation of the application process were among the several recommendations.

Once again, I thank all committee members, who have put their knowledge of statistics and their understanding of the needs of their communities at the service of the committee to produce this report. Working with all of you has been a real pleasure.

Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Lui Temelkovski Oak Ridges—Markham, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the second report of the Standing Joint Committee on the Library of Parliament regarding the certificate of nomination of William Robert Young to the position of Parliamentary Librarian.

Excise Act
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

Dean Allison Niagara West—Glanbrook, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-451, An Act to amend the Excise Act, 2001 (wine exemption).

Mr. Speaker, it is a fact that Canadian wines are some of the best in the world and that most Canadian wines have to deal with heavily subsidized imports. Even though in the past three budgets, and there were three concurrent unanimous all-party recommendations from the finance committee to reduce the excise tax, this has not happened.

I propose that we look at 100% of Canadian wines and remove the excise tax up to 900,000 litres to help create a level playing field for our industry.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Blood Samples Act
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

Randy Kamp Dewdney—Alouette, BC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-452, An Act to provide for the taking of blood samples for the protection of persons administering and enforcing the law and good Samaritans, and to amend the Criminal Code.

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to introduce a bill that would allow judges to order a blood sample to be taken when the judge believes that there is a strong case to believe that a front line emergency worker, a good Samaritan or someone helping them, may have come into contact with hepatitis B, hepatitis C or HIV.

This is similar to a bill that was introduced by my colleague from Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon in the last Parliament which passed unanimously. Under normal circumstances, I would hope that this would also be the case.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Parliamentary Librarian
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Hamilton East—Stoney Creek
Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

moved:

That the House approve the appointment of William Young as Parliamentary Librarian.

Parliamentary Librarian
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

The Speaker

Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Parliamentary Librarian
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Parliamentary Librarian
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

No.

Parliamentary Librarian
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

The Speaker

All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

Parliamentary Librarian
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Parliamentary Librarian
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

The Speaker

All those opposed will please say nay.

Parliamentary Librarian
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Parliamentary Librarian
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

The Speaker

In my opinion the nays have it.

And more than five members having risen:

Parliamentary Librarian
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

The Speaker

Call in the members.

(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Parliamentary Librarian
Routine Proceedings

4:05 p.m.

The Speaker

I declare the motion carried.

Parliamentary Librarian
Routine Proceedings

4:05 p.m.

Liberal

Karen Redman Kitchener Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I believe you would find consent to proceed to putting the question before the House on the ways and means motion before completing routine proceedings. Should a recorded division be requested, I would suggest that we forgo the bells.

Parliamentary Librarian
Routine Proceedings

4:05 p.m.

The Speaker

Is there unanimous consent to proceed with the putting of the question on a ways and means motion now?

Parliamentary Librarian
Routine Proceedings

4:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Ways and Means
Routine Proceedings

4:05 p.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Finance

moved that a ways and means motion to implement certain income tax reductions be concurred in.

Ways and Means
Routine Proceedings

4:05 p.m.

The Speaker

Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Ways and Means
Routine Proceedings

4:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Ways and Means
Routine Proceedings

4:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

No.

Ways and Means
Routine Proceedings

4:05 p.m.

The Speaker

All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

Ways and Means
Routine Proceedings

4:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Ways and Means
Routine Proceedings

4:05 p.m.

The Speaker

All those opposed will please say nay.

Ways and Means
Routine Proceedings

4:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Ways and Means
Routine Proceedings

4:05 p.m.

The Speaker

In my opinion the nays have it.

And more than five members having risen:

(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Ways and Means
Routine Proceedings

4:15 p.m.

The Speaker

I declare the motion carried.

Ways and Means
Routine Proceedings

4:15 p.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Finance

moved that Bill C-80, An Act to implement certain income tax reductions, be read the first time and printed.

(Motion deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Ways and Means
Routine Proceedings

4:15 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the House for unanimous consent for the following motion: That, in the opinion of this House, the government should hold public hearings into the decision of Investment Canada to approve the sale of Terasen Gas to Kinder Morgan and should stay the final decision until the government ensures that the public interest and Canada's sovereignty are fully considered, and until the funds impounded by the government of the United States in the softwood lumber dispute are returned to Canadian producers, and until an agreement is reached with the government of the United States to resolve this decision.

Ways and Means
Routine Proceedings

4:15 p.m.

The Speaker

Does the hon. member for Burnaby—New Westminster have the unanimous consent of the House to propose the motion?

Ways and Means
Routine Proceedings

4:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Ways and Means
Routine Proceedings

4:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

No.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

4:20 p.m.

Conservative

Barry Devolin Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is my honour to present several petitions today. The petitioners ask the government to reduce fuel taxes across the country.

I have several petitions here. In fact, I have a larger stack back in my office in uncertifiable form. We are working on those petitions and we will be introducing them soon. I bring these petitions forward on behalf of my constituents.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

Ken Boshcoff Thunder Bay—Rainy River, ON

Mr. Speaker, I wish to present two petitions. The first petition is from the Autism Society. I represented this society at a rally last week as the chair of the Subcommittee on the Status of Persons with Disabilities.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

Ken Boshcoff Thunder Bay—Rainy River, ON

Mr. Speaker, my second petition concerns the Post Office. The petitioners are concerned about the closing of rural post offices in small towns.

I am submitting this petition, although I have on the record, and as a member of the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates, confirmation from the president of the post office that there is no closure and the moratorium as indicated by the minister still stands.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Adams Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise to present the most recent of many petitions signed by thousands of people who deplore the delay in the animal cruelty legislation.

The petitioners believe that the delaying tactics of the Conservatives has been a great disservice for animals, animal lovers and groups such as farmers. The petitioners want the legislation passed soon. The petitioners point out that there have been several highly publicized examples of deliberate cruelty to animals and that this affects the work people such as veterinarians.

The petitioners call upon Parliament to expedite the process of enacting Bill C-50 to law and ask all members to exercise good conscience in so doing.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

4:20 p.m.

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Carleton—Lanark, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise to submit three petitions sponsored by the Canadians for Military Preparedness. The petitioners ask that there be a baseline funding increase for the military, rather than a one-off funding that the government is planning at this time.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

4:20 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Bouchard Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure this afternoon to present a petition on behalf of constituents of my riding of Chicoutimi—Le Fjord who are concerned about the closure of post offices in small towns and cities in our region and in rural regions, in spite of the moratorium at Canada Post. These petitioners call on the Canadian government to instruct Canada Post to maintain, expand and improve its public post offices.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

Navdeep Bains Mississauga—Brampton South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present the following petition to the House. The petitioners call for an amendment to the Canada Health Act and corresponding regulations to include intense behavioural intervention and applied behavioural analysis therapy for children with autism. They also ask that the provinces provide funding for these essential treatment for autism as well.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

4:20 p.m.

Conservative

Gary Goodyear Cambridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to put forward to the House today a petition signed by a number of people around the country, asking the government to amend the Canada Health Act.

The petitioners ask for the provision of therapy for our autistic children and for chairs to be set up at universities to ensure that this kind of education will given in Canada, so that these people do not have to reside out of the country for treatment.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

4:20 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, this petition has to do with the diversion of water from Devils Lake into the Red River system and Lake Winnipeg. Biota of concern have been discovered in Devils Lake as a result of tests that have been completed recently.

The petitioners hope that North Dakota and the United States will make good on their commitment to have an adequate filter for that water, seeing as they have decided to divert it in any event, despite the will of Parliament and of the Canadian people.

The petition reads, “We, the residents of Canada, call upon our federal government to ensure that all the necessary measures, including legal actions, are taken to guarantee that our concerns regarding the environmental--

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

4:20 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. The hon. member for Elmwood—Transcona knows very well he cannot read petitions. He has to give a brief summary and I know he will want to do that. He is an experienced member, and I am shocked.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

4:25 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, that is what I thought I was doing. I was summarizing the petition rather than reading the whole thing. The petitioners want the federal government to ensure that all necessary measures are taken regarding the environmental impact that will result from the diversion of Devils Lake.

They call upon the government to ensure that this is referred to the International Joint Commission.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

Jeff Watson Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased and honoured today to introduce several petitions in support of Canadian grain and oilseed producers from citizens and communities across Essex.

The petitioners are concerned about the deepening crisis on family farms and the inability of CAIS to address trade injury. They draw the attention of hon. members in the House to the hardships producers are experiencing due to trade injury caused by the U.S. farm bill subsidies.

The petitioners call upon the House to enact legislation that provides a market revenue style income support program to assist Canadian producers.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Niagara Falls, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition from residents of Niagara Falls, Fort Erie, Hamilton, Canadian citizens in Buffalo, Gravenhurst, Ridgeway, Stevensville, Crystal Beach and Welland.

These petitioners are concerned that there has been no consultation with the fishing industry, that the government is relying not on credible science and that the actions of the government could put an end to recreational fishing.

They are petitioning Parliament to use all legislative and administrative means to stop the prohibition on the importation, manufacture and sale of lead sinkers and jigs used in fishing.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

4:25 p.m.

Liberal

Lynn Myers Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to table a petition on behalf of my constituents calling upon the government to amend the Canada Health Act to include therapy, treatment and other things for children with autism.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

Kevin Sorenson Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present two petitions on behalf of constituents from Carbon, Drumheller, Rosedale, Daysland, Ferintosh and Camrose, Alberta.

The petitioners ask Parliament to pass legislation to recognize the institution of marriage in federal law as being the lifelong union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

Kevin Sorenson Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have another petition containing close to 100 signatures. Again these signatures come from various towns and cities in my riding of Crowfoot, Rosebud, Stettler and Huxley to name a few.

The petitioners call upon Parliament to provide Canadians with greater access to natural health products and to restore freedom of choice in personal health care by enacting private member's Bill C-420.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions to very humbly submit on behalf of many of my constituents from throughout my riding asking the government to axe the tax on tax, in other words, to remove the GST on top of the federal excise tax on the price of gasoline.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

4:25 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to present hundreds of petitions from residents of East Vancouver. The petitioners are terribly concerned about the highway 1 expansion project.

They call upon the Government of Canada to ensure that there is no federal funding supporting this proposal until the government of British Columbia has produced evidence that the project meets Canada's climate change commitments and there has been full public consultation.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

Dean Allison Niagara West—Glanbrook, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have half a dozen different petitions today, but three are different. The first petition is on the issue of income trusts. The petitioners ask the government to provide some certainty that income trusts would be here for seniors to count on.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

Dean Allison Niagara West—Glanbrook, ON

Mr. Speaker, the second petition is with regard to fuel taxes. The petitioners ask Parliament to look at reducing fuel taxes on gas to make it easier for families to manage.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

Dean Allison Niagara West—Glanbrook, ON

Mr. Speaker, the third petition calls upon Parliament to respect and look after the traditional definition of marriage.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

Inky Mark Dauphin—Swan River, MB

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present four petitions today. The first one is signed by thousands of petitioners from across the country.

The petitioners call on the House to enact Bill C-391, an act to recognize and protect Canada's hunting and fishing heritage to ensure the rights of present and future Canadians to enjoy these activities are protected in law.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

4:30 p.m.

Conservative

Inky Mark Dauphin—Swan River, MB

Mr. Speaker, the second petition calls on Parliament to enact Bill C-295, an act to amend the Holidays Act to recognize Remembrance Day as a legal holiday that honours the men and women who died serving their country in wars and in peacekeeping efforts.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

4:30 p.m.

Conservative

Inky Mark Dauphin—Swan River, MB

Mr. Speaker, in the third petition, the petitioners request that Parliament take immediate action to develop an internationally recognized protocol designed to restore confidence in Canadian beef products and to open international beef markets to Canadian producers.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

4:30 p.m.

Conservative

Inky Mark Dauphin—Swan River, MB

Mr. Speaker, the last petition calls on Parliament to eliminate the practice of applying GST to provincial fuel tax and federal excise tax, a practice that charges tax on top of tax.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

4:30 p.m.

Conservative

Greg Thompson St. Croix—Belleisle, NB

Mr. Speaker, I have a petition to present today signed by citizens of New Brunswick and other places in Canada.

The petitioners are asking the Government of Canada to exercise its sovereign right as a nation and say no to the transport of LNG tankers through Head Harbour Passage.

The petitioners recognize that Head Harbour Passage is one of the most dangerous waterways in all of Canada. They are asking the government to protect our citizens, our environment and our economy and say no to the passage of those ships now.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

4:30 p.m.

Liberal

Borys Wrzesnewskyj Etobicoke Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order.

Discussions have taken place between all parties with respect to Bill C-385, an act to amend the Criminal Code (hate propaganda) which received first reading on May 11, 2005. I hope to find consent for the following motion, “That, notwithstanding any Standing Order or usual practices of the House, Bill C-385 be deemed to have been read a second time, referred to committee of the whole, reported without amendment, concurred in at report stage, read a third time and passed”.

This is especially appropriate as in two weeks we will be marking the 14th anniversary of the massacre that took place at Montreal's l'École Polytechnique.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

4:30 p.m.

The Speaker

Does the hon. member for Etobicoke Centre have the unanimous consent of the House to propose this motion?

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

4:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

4:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

No.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

4:30 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Reid Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have petitions on three subjects to present to the House today.

The first petition is with respect to an issue about which I am quite compassionate and that is ensuring there will be proper treatment for children suffering from autism spectrum disorder.

In the preamble the petitioners give a lengthy explanation of how early intervention treatment can assist in ensuring that children will not be trapped permanently in this terrible disease, but only if intervention occurs early enough. That requires that the Canada Health Act be amended in order that autism spectrum disorder early intervention treatment is covered.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

4:30 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Reid Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington, ON

Mr. Speaker, the second petition refers to the price of gas. The petitioners ask that the federal government exercise some restraint in charging GST on top of other taxes on gasoline at the pump.

Mr. Speaker, I am going to ask for the unanimous consent of the House to present the third petition because it was not submitted in the proper manner. It is a very long ribbon which would easily stretch to the end of the room and back. It has been signed by women from Smiths Falls and throughout Lanark County. This petition is against child pornography which we know is a very important issue. It was not submitted in the manner that would allow it to normally be accepted, but obviously the petitioners feel very passionate about this issue.

If there is unanimous consent, I would like to table this petition as well.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

4:30 p.m.

The Speaker

Does the hon. member for Lanark--Frontenac--Lennox and Addington have the unanimous consent of the House to table this petition?

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

4:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

4:30 p.m.

An hon. member

No.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

4:30 p.m.

Conservative

Dave Batters Palliser, SK

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order.

With due respect, a member offered a petition on a very serious subject and all members in their seats agreed to give consent for the tabling of that petition. A member opposite poked her head through the door of the lobby and screamed “no”. She was not in her seat at the time.

I would ask that you ask the question again, Mr. Speaker.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

4:35 p.m.

The Speaker

I stress that the Chair does not worry who is in his or her seat when asking for unanimous consent. A member may be sitting in some other seat or may be standing behind the curtain and yell “no”. This does happen. Members could be in the gallery and make the noise. They are still here.

I will put the question again. Is there unanimous consent for the tabling of this petition?

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

4:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

4:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

No.

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

4:35 p.m.

Beauséjour
New Brunswick

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I ask that all questions be allowed to stand.

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

4:35 p.m.

The Speaker

Is that agreed?

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

4:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

4:35 p.m.

Conservative

Greg Thompson St. Croix—Belleisle, NB

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order.

Here we go again. I have been on my feet a number of days in succession because the government refuses to answer questions on the order paper. The timeliness of this is very important. What is the government trying to hide? Why will it not answer those questions in relation to LNG? What is it trying to hide?

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

4:35 p.m.

The Speaker

Is the hon. member suggesting that the time limit has been violated?

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

4:35 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, we have been over this a number of times. The government is entirely within the 45 day period for all of the hon. member's questions.

Perhaps he should convince his colleagues to use part of question period to put this question instead of a point of order.

Motions for Papers
Routine Proceedings

4:35 p.m.

Beauséjour
New Brunswick

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, would you be so kind as to call Notice of Motion for the Production of Papers No. P-20, in the name of the hon. member for Kildonan—St. Paul.

That an Order of this House do issue for copies of all relevant documents pertaining to the government’s decision to deny the City of Winnipeg the ability to use infrastructure money on projects such as roads and bridges.

Motions for Papers
Routine Proceedings

4:35 p.m.

Hamilton East—Stoney Creek
Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I ask that the matter be transferred for debate.

Motions for Papers
Routine Proceedings

4:35 p.m.

The Speaker

The motion is transferred for debate pursuant to Standing Order 97(1).

Motions for Papers
Routine Proceedings

4:35 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, I would ask that all Notices of Motions for the Production of Papers be allowed to stand.

Motions for Papers
Routine Proceedings

4:35 p.m.

The Speaker

Is that agreed?

Motions for Papers
Routine Proceedings

4:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Motions for Papers
Routine Proceedings

4:35 p.m.

Conservative

Greg Thompson St. Croix—Belleisle, NB

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order.

Here we go again. With regard to the production of papers, again that has been in the hands of the government for a number of weeks on a very sensitive and very timely issue. Why does the government delay the production of papers necessary for members of Parliament, myself included, on a very important issue? Why the delay in producing those papers? We need that information to do our jobs to hold the government's feet to the fire.

Why the delay? What is the government trying to hide on the LNG issue, possibly the fact that the Prime Minister of Canada is in a conflict of interest on that issue?

Motions for Papers
Routine Proceedings

4:35 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, again, you had provided a very gentle admonishment to the hon. member for New Brunswick Southwest that perhaps this matter should be taken up at the procedure and House affairs committee if he wishes to change the Standing Orders with respect to the appropriate deadlines, the appropriate amount of time.

Mr. Speaker, you might like to remind the member again, but perhaps in a more stern way.

Motions for Papers
Routine Proceedings

4:35 p.m.

The Speaker

It sounds to me as though the hon. parliamentary secretary has already done that. Perhaps we will consider the matter closed since there does not appear to be a point of order here. This is simply a sort of mini debate.

Points of Order
Routine Proceedings

4:35 p.m.

Conservative

John Williams Edmonton—St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order with regard to two issues within the supplementary estimates (A), 2005-06, which I believe are not properly before the House.

As Madam Speaker Sauvé said on June 12, 1981 at page 10546 of Hansard , “it matters not whether the amount spent is a large sum or simply one dollar.”

Going back as far as 1971, members of this House have objected to the government's use of the estimates as a vehicle to amend legislation and to seek authority to spend money on programs that have not received legislative authority. Your distinguished predecessors have consistently ruled in support of these arguments by striking votes from the estimates on March 10, 1971; March 22, 1977; December 7, 1977; March 25, 1981; June 12, 1981; June 21, 1981; March 21, 1983; and March 21, 1984. You yourself, Mr. Speaker, protected the rights of the House in the matters of supply on November 22, 2001.

I will first deal with the funding for Service Canada which appears to be a new government department, perhaps. Order in council P.C. 2005-1609 issued on September 8, 2005, appointed Ms. Maryantonett Flumian as the “Deputy Minister of Service Canada” with that style and title.

The Financial Administration Act assigns important powers directly to deputy ministers such as Ms. Flumian. The specific responsibilities include: ensuring an adequate system of internal control and audit, subsection 31(3); establishing procedures and maintaining records, subsection 32(2); providing the required certification to authorize any payment to be made, section 34; maintaining adequate records in relation to public property, section 62; and preparing a division of an appropriation or item included in the estimates--and note that one Mr. Speaker--subsection 31(1). Where are her estimates?

Deputy ministers also hold other directly assigned authorities including personnel management in the public service and the Official Languages Act.

So where is the department and her estimates? We know Ms. Flumian has been appointed as Deputy Minister of Service Canada but is being paid by HRSDC. Are you getting a little confused, Mr. Speaker? I am.

Also, according to Service Canada's website, it employs over 20,000 staff, serves 32 million Canadians per year, has 320 offices across the country, handles 14 million website visits per year, and answers over 50 million calls per year. It definitely sounds like a ministry to me, so where is the legislation authorizing this department and where are its own estimates as required by the Financial Administration Act to cover these costs?

I draw your attention to your ruling, Mr. Speaker, on June 12, 2003 at page 7221 of the debates. You said:

--the Chair is troubled by the current case which is an example of a persistent problem that I have had occasion to comment on before, that is, the adequacy of information provided to Parliament regarding estimates. Committees have always been dependent on being provided with complete and accurate information concerning proposed public spending. In light of the size and complexity of modern government, this is all the more true....If that documentation is inadequate, then members seeking clarification have no recourse except, as the hon. member for St. Albert did, to raise a point of order in the House.

Here I am again, Mr. Speaker.

I would also draw your attention to an article by Kathryn May from the September 27, 2005 edition of the Ottawa Citizen where she noted:

--senior officials say Service Canada is intended to be different from other departments. They argue it makes sense to experiment before setting the agency's parameters in stone with legislation. It is expected that legislation will eventually be drafted once ministers and bureaucrats figure out how best to run the agency.

Is this a department that is halfway through its gestation period and already spending money without authorization? Surely this is a new concept for the House. She also writes:

Service Canada is being put together using orders-in-council, memorandums of understanding and other contractual arrangements. Over the coming months, it will have agreements with about 12 departments--

It still sounds like an independent department, Mr. Speaker, does it not?

I find this to be a grave situation. We have unnamed senior government officials stating on the record that the government is using taxpayers' money to run an unofficial department that has no parameters in legislation, but will be formally created “once ministers and bureaucrats figure out how to best run the agency”. This is an affront to Parliament.

I next seek the Chair's indulgence to raise the issue of one-dollar votes to transfer funds from the Department of National Defence to Parc Downsview Park, Inc. There are a number of votes which deal with this in the supplementary estimates (A) 2005-06. Vote 4a of National Defence, in the amount of $1, forgives a debt owed by Parc Downsview Park Inc. amounting to $15,059,000. Vote L11a of the Office of Infrastructure seeks to complete a transfer of land to Parc Downsview Park Inc. in the amount of $2.49 million. Vote L13a of the Office of Infrastructure is another $1 vote, seeking to establish a borrowing authority of $100 million for Parc Downsview Park Inc.

Marleau and Montpetit state at page 733:

The inclusion of one dollar items in the Estimates also gave rise to the issue of using Estimates to “legislate”....

Marleau and Montpetit continue on page 735, stating:

Speaker Jerome stated in a ruling: “...it is my view that the government receives from Parliament the authority to act through the passage of legislation and receives the money to finance such authorized action through the passage by Parliament of an appropriation act. A supply item in my opinion ought not, therefore, to be used to obtain authority which is the proper subject of legislation”.

The government is required to legislate in another way and Parliament grants funds through the estimates process.

Madame Speaker Sauvé also ruled on March 25, 1981, at pages 8600-8601 of the Debates that eight one-dollar items in that case were out of order.

Other references that may be of assistance include the fifth report of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts of the 35th Parliament, First Session, which discusses the issue of legislative authority and the estimates.

A succinct case study of the Parc Downsview Park Inc. is contained in the report of the Auditor General tabled in the House yesterday. Chapter 8, at pages 22 and 23, states:

[The government]...informed us that the ministers concerned intend to seek Parliament's approval for the transfer through the supplementary estimates process in the fall of 2005. The intent is to transfer the lands at their current book value, which is the normal practice for transactions between related government entities. The book value of the lands to be transferred is $2.49 million. The request for approval of this appropriation will also indicate that the fair value of the lands being transferred is estimated to be $152 million according to a recent appraisal.

This type of transfer should be accomplished in a manner outside the estimates process, but instead they have sought to subvert the estimates process for this transaction.

It is clear that the government is seeking to transfer land into the crown corporation, Parc Downsview Park Inc., in a manner not consistent with our parliamentary rules and traditions. Estimates are for Parliament granting supply to the government. Transfers of land from one department to another should not form part of the estimates.

I am therefore asking you, Mr. Speaker, to rule these votes out of order because they seek to accomplish a goal which is not consistent with the estimates process.

Finally, it is rumoured that Parliament may be dissolved for an election soon. During election periods, the government may pass special warrants to appropriate the necessary funds until Parliament returns.

In your response to this point of order, Mr. Speaker, if you find that it is legitimate, I would ask that you indicate in your ruling that it applies to special warrants as well as any estimates before this House, and, if you do not have the time to rule prior to Parliament's dissolution, that you find a way to communicate to the government that special warrants should not circumvent the rules of the House.

Points of Order
Routine Proceedings

4:45 p.m.

Beauséjour
New Brunswick

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member obviously has done a considerable amount of research and has prepared for this very important point of order. We had no notice of his intention to raise this important matter. I would ask that you allow us time to review carefully his comments, prepare the necessary response and get back to the House in due course.

Points of Order
Routine Proceedings

4:45 p.m.

The Speaker

It is obvious that the hon. member for Edmonton—St. Albert has a huge number of authorities that he has referred to in the course of the preparation of his remarks, so I can see that the government House leader and his parliamentary secretary are going to be up late tonight reading all of these in order to provide a suitable response to the hon. member. Yes, I am prepared to leave the matter for a time for the hon. parliamentary secretary to arm himself, if he wishes, with arguments in respect of this matter.

Business of the House
Routine Proceedings

4:45 p.m.

Hamilton East—Stoney Creek
Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, there have been discussions among the parties and I think you would find unanimous consent for the following motion. I move:

That, notwithstanding any standing order or usual practice, Bill C-71 be deemed to have been concurred in at report stage and read a second time in order for consideration at third reading later this day and Bill C-57 be deemed to have been concurred in at report stage in order for consideration at third reading later this day, and that at the third reading stage of each bill, after no more than one speaker from each party has spoken for not more than five minutes, the question shall be deemed put and deemed carried on division.

Business of the House
Routine Proceedings

4:50 p.m.

The Speaker

Does the hon. government House leader have the unanimous consent of the House to propose this motion?

Business of the House
Routine Proceedings

4:50 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Business of the House
Routine Proceedings

4:50 p.m.

The Speaker

The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Business of the House
Routine Proceedings

4:50 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

(Motion agreed to)

(Bill C-71. On the Order: Government Orders)

November 22, 2005--The Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development--Consideration at report stage and second reading of Bill C-71, An Act respecting the regulation of commercial and industrial undertakings on reserve lands, as reported by the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development without amendment.

(Bill concurred in at report stage and read the second time)

(Bill C-57. On the Order: Government Orders:)

November 18, 2005--The Minister of Finance--Consideration at report stage of Bill C-57, An Act to amend certain Acts in relation to financial institutions, as reported by the Standing Committee on Finance with amendments.

(Bill concurred in at report stage)

Bank Act
Routine Proceedings

4:50 p.m.

Conservative

John Williams Edmonton—St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. In my point of order I referred to an order in council. I have it here and would like to table it in both official languages.

Bank Act
Routine Proceedings

4:50 p.m.

The Speaker

Does the hon. member have the unanimous consent of the House to table the document?

Bank Act
Routine Proceedings

4:50 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

First Nations Commercial and Industrial Development Act
Government Orders

4:50 p.m.

Barrie
Ontario

Liberal

Aileen Carroll for the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians

moved that Bill C-71, An Act respecting the regulation of commercial and industrial undertakings on reserve lands, be read the third time and passed.

First Nations Commercial and Industrial Development Act
Government Orders

4:50 p.m.

Liberal

Lloyd St. Amand Brant, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to rise today to speak in support of this bill, the first nations commercial and industrial development act, a logical, sensible and progressive piece of legislation with a wide range of benefits for first nations and for Canada.

I would like to discuss the benefits of the bill in some detail. The bill is intended to remove the impediments that stand in the way of major commercial and industrial projects on reserve for first nations.

The existing barriers to development on reserve come in the form of inadequate federal legislation adopted under a different set of economic circumstances. Today, as first nations pursue complex large-scale commercial and industrial development projects with enormous potential to improve their quality of life and economic prosperity, it is up to us as legislators to facilitate that development.

It is instructive to look at a concrete example of a major industrial development project which is likely to be realized under this legislation. Fort McKay First Nation in northern Alberta is developing a multi-billion dollar oil sands project in partnership with Shell Canada, but the dollars themselves generated through projects like this are not the only benefit to first nations such as Fort McKay. Increased revenue and economic growth lead to other tangible, measurable and positive outcomes.

The projects would, for example, improve the quality of life through ensuring industry-wide standards in environmental protection, public health and safety. They would also create more jobs on reserve. At the same time, such projects offer first nations unprecedented opportunity to build capacity for the future. The new jobs that are created bring along with them education, training and skills development.

All of the short term benefits that first nations citizens will enjoy from new jobs, such as higher incomes and better skills, for example, over the longer term will result in access to other opportunities that would previously have been out of reach.

For first nation communities as a whole over the longer term, revenues generated from large-scale commercial and industrial development projects can be directed to upgrading road, water and sewer infrastructure as well as building playgrounds, schools and medical centres.

It is because first nations themselves see the significant benefits that are possible under this legislation that five partnering first nations have been front and centre in developing and advocating it. They are Fort McKay First Nation and Tsuu T`ina Nation in Alberta, Fort William First Nation in Ontario, Squamish Nation in British Columbia, and Carry the Kettle First Nation in Saskatchewan.

These partnering first nations, all of whom are considering proposals for major commercial and/or industrial development projects, have designed this initiative as an important tool to help them access engines of economic development on their reserve lands. They have all shown their support for this initiative through band council resolutions and they have been engaging other first nations and first nations organizations across the country to build further support. In fact, the flexibility of this legislation will allow first nations in all parts of Canada to enjoy its benefits.

Closing the gap in socio-economic conditions between first nations and other Canadians is the principle objective of this legislation. I call upon all members of the House to support this legislation, which fills the regulatory gap that has to this point hindered first nations economic development for far too long.

First Nations Commercial and Industrial Development Act
Government Orders

4:55 p.m.

Conservative

Ted Menzies Macleod, AB

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to speak in favour of Bill C-71, the first nations commercial and industrial development act.

The reason I feel so privileged to speak to this on behalf of the Conservative Party is because of the work the Conservative Party has done to bring the bill forward in the dying days of what has been a very frustrating legislative period.

We had lots of opportunities throughout this Parliament to bring this forward. The critic for the official opposition, the member for Calgary Centre-North, recognized that this legislation had virtually stalled in the House. It was through his efforts that it has been brought forward and we are likely and certainly hopeful to see the bill passed.

I also need to recognize the amount of effort put into this and the background work done by the specific first nations named in the bill. I will read the names out because I think it is most important to recognize the efforts of the first nations in bringing this forward. These are forward-thinking nations who understand that the present Indian Act is not working for them and not working for any of the first nations in this country. Accolades go to the following first nations: the Squamish Nation of British Columbia, the Fort McKay First Nation, the Tsuu T`ina Nation of Alberta, the Carry the Kettle First Nation of Saskatchewan and the Fort William First Nation of Ontario.

I would like to bring it to the House's attention that the Tsuu T`ina Nation, which is within my riding, is a very proud, individualistic group that have put forward some of the best initiatives that, frankly, we have seen. Not only does it have one of the most beautiful reserves within my riding, it has an incredible view to the west of the Rocky Mountains, second to none in this country, of course.

I have spent a great deal of time working with these people and have a great deal of respect for them. I am very proud to say that they were one of the main proponents of bringing the bill to the position it is at today. They recognize that they have great opportunities ahead of them. Therefore I strongly endorse the legislation so they will actually have the opportunity to seek a better future for their children. We all seek that but this old Indian Act that we are dealing with and have been dealing with for years is outdated. It does not allow these people the opportunity to plan for their future.

The other one that needs to be recognized is the Fort McKay reserve with a $4 billion project in conjunction with Shell oil sands. This is one of the shining lights in Alberta, and I am sure the House is well aware of it. However this opportunity will not be within the reserve's grasp if we do not move the legislation forward, which is why we on this side of the House were so concerned that the bill had been stalled and why we are pushing it forward to actually get it to move ahead. Certainly some other pieces of legislation have not made it quite that far.

We would strongly encourage all sides of the House to support this legislation. It is a great opportunity for all of these first nations to actually seize their future and to control the future of their nations and their children.

First Nations Commercial and Industrial Development Act
Government Orders

5 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Cleary Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to speak today on Bill C-71, An Act respecting the regulation of commercial and industrial undertakings on reserve lands.

The purpose of Bill C-71 is to correct what the government calls “regulatory gaps”. This is an expression it uses to cover up the absence of an appropriate legislative and regulatory framework to encourage and regulate economic development on aboriginal reserves.

The Bloc Québécois is in favour of Bill C-71.

Quebec, like the other provinces, moreover, already has a legal framework governing commercial and industrial activities, but the division of powers under the Constitution means that some of those standards do not apply on reserve lands. This results in inequalities that put aboriginal people at a disadvantage.

The purpose of the bill, therefore, is for the federal government to inaugurate on the reserve, at the request of a first nation, regulations similar to the legislation of Quebec or of the province in which the reserve is situated.

Although the genesis of this bill came from five first nations—the Squamish nation in British Columbia, the Fort McKay first nation and the Tsuu T'ina nation in Alberta, the Carry the Kettle first nation in Saskatchewan, and the Fort William first nation in Ontario—none of the first nations in Quebec were consulted. Bill C-71 will have repercussions on Quebec and it would have been better to consult more with the aboriginal peoples concerned.

The Chief of the Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador asked the chair of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development that the Quebec communities be consulted so that they might examine the bill and analyze the specifics of applying such legislation. It is regrettable that the government once again broke its promise to consult the first nations.

Several years ago, Quebec adopted an approach based on respect for aboriginal peoples. The Bloc Québécois is proud of this direction and recognizes aboriginals as a distinct people entitled to their culture, language, customs and traditions and their right to develop their own identity their own way.

The Bloc Québécois recognizes that in order to do this, aboriginals must have the tools they need to take charge of their own economic development. That is why the Bloc Québécois hopes to review Bill C-71 with the first nations of Quebec, since it affects this important aspect and needs to be analyzed thoroughly with the first nations.

Although passing this bill will engender improvements, the federal government must do a lot more for aboriginals. The housing conditions, education and health of aboriginals are inferior to those of the rest of population.

On the reserves, most families—65%—live in substandard housing. The Bloc Québécois deplores the fact that the lack of affordable housing of adequate size and quality for aboriginals has consequences beyond simple housing standards.

Various medical and social problems are linked to poor housing conditions and quality of life. The Government of Canada must make the effort needed to correct the situation without simply handing over the problems to the first nations.

Ways and Means
Government Orders

5:05 p.m.

Barrie
Ontario

Liberal

Aileen Carroll Minister of International Cooperation

Madam Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 83(1), I wish to table a notice of ways and means motion to amend the Income Tax Act and descriptive documents pertaining thereto. I ask that an order of the day be designated for consideration of the motion.

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-71, An Act respecting the regulation of commercial and industrial undertakings on reserve lands, be read the third time and passed.

First Nations Commercial and Industrial Development Act
Government Orders

5:05 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies Vancouver East, BC

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to represent the position of the NDP in the House today. Our critic and spokesperson for aboriginal affairs, the member for Winnipeg Centre, was not able to be here as he is at the aboriginal conference. I know he has worked very hard on the bill, as he has with all other initiatives, to pursue equality and rights for aboriginal people in Canada.

We support the bill. The fact that it is being given speedy passage through the House is necessary and important. We want to ensure there are no barriers or obstacles to economic and industrial development for aboriginal people on reserve. From that point of view, the bill is important and we certainly want to see it go through.

I would also make a note that from our perspective it is important to provide aboriginal people with the tools and the resources that are necessary. As others have noted, the socio-economic status, the environment in which aboriginal people live is appalling. The government's record of not dealing with the abject poverty that exists is appalling.

We have many issues before us in terms of the aboriginal peoples who have not been dealt with. However today we have an opportunity to at least get this bill through to provide some support, the resources and the necessary tools and regulations. On that basis, the NDP of course is supporting the bill as are other parties.

First Nations Commercial and Industrial Development Act
Government Orders

5:05 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Hon. Jean Augustine)

Pursuant to order made earlier today, the question is deemed put and the motion is deemed carried on division.

(Motion agreed to, bill read the third time and passed)

Bank Act
Government Orders

5:05 p.m.

Barrie
Ontario

Liberal

Aileen Carroll for the Minister of Finance

moved that Bill C-57, An Act to amend certain Acts in relation to financial institutions, be read the third time and passed.

Bank Act
Government Orders

5:05 p.m.

Etobicoke North
Ontario

Liberal

Roy Cullen Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Madam Speaker, I am thankful for the opportunity to speak to Bill C-57 at third reading.

In budget 2005 the government committed to introduce the proposals in this bill, which now fulfill our government's commitment to bring the governance standards for financial institutions up to the levels adopted in 2001 for other federally incorporated companies. Bill C-57 also proposes to update certain governance standards that are unique to financial institutions.

I am told by my colleague, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance, that the members on the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance worked very constructively and collaboratively on this initiative. We want to thank them for doing that.

There is little doubt of the important role that financial institutions play in the lives of Canadians. They provide services above and beyond what we most often think of as banking services, services such as chequing and savings accounts, and mortgages.

Financial institutions, though, are much more than that. For example, they provide the capital necessary for new or existing businesses. They sell insurance and can administer estates, trusts and agency contracts. In addition, they play a key role in helping governments and corporations to raise capital, as well as offering individuals an opportunity to invest in stocks, bonds and other securities.

The financial services sector is more than a provider of services. It is a critical part of the infrastructure of our economy, employing over 600,000 Canadians with a yearly payroll of over $35 billion. I can say that where I come from in Toronto, the financial services sector is a hugely critical employer in the business activity in the area. Let us not forget also that the financial services sector contributes approximately $13 billion in taxes to all orders of government.

I think everyone would agree that for Canada to continue its economic success, we must think beyond our borders. The same is true of Canadian businesses such as financial institutions. Let us face it, the reality is that we are operating in a global context and in global capital markets, but in order to compete in such an increasingly competitive global marketplace, the financial services sector needs to have a modern and up to date regulatory framework.

It is in this spirit that the government has taken action in recent years to ensure that financial institutions have the up to date regulatory framework they need to compete in today's global economy. In fact, this framework is reviewed every five years. Bill C-57 builds on those initiatives. It equips financial institutions with the modern governance tools that they need to compete in a global economy.

I would like now to quickly outline the five main elements contained in this bill. First, the financial institutions statutes recognize the importance of an effective board of directors. Bill C-57 contains proposals to clarify the role of directors in carrying out their important functions, for example, by explicitly allowing for a due diligence defence and clarifying the conflict of interest rules. I am particularly proud to see that. My first private member's bill called for the defence of due diligence for directors of corporations in Canada incorporated under the Canada Business Corporations Act.

Second, shareholders have certain rights, such as the right to participate in the major decisions of a financial institution in which they have an interest. The proposed legislation enhances those rights. For example, once this bill is passed, shareholders would be permitted electronic participation in meetings using technology such as video conferencing.

Third, Bill C-57 recognizes the importance of good governance in the well-being of a financial institution. As such, the government's framework needs to be kept up to date with best practices in this area.

Fourth, the legislation proposes to strengthen a number of governance elements in the regulatory framework, including improving the flow of information to the regulator. It also harmonizes various governance standards within and across the financial institution statutes.

The fifth element relates to changes in the policy holder governance framework for insurance companies. These changes would work to increase disclosure in respect of participating in adjustable life insurance policies.

We do not have time to go into any more detail on this particular piece of legislation, but it is an important piece of legislation that would affirm the importance of our financial institutions in Canada and would give them the tools necessary to compete in this global economy.

Bank Act
Government Orders

5:10 p.m.

Conservative

Charlie Penson Peace River, AB

Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise today to speak to Bill C-57. The Conservative Party will be supporting this bill. We believe in strong corporate governance and rules around that sector. We believe they are essential to ensuring that shareholders' rights are protected, that consumers are served properly, and that Canada's financial sector is able to be strong and vibrant.

The Conservative Party will continue to look out for the best interests of consumers and shareholders while ensuring that the regulatory environment contributes to a strong financial sector.

This bill would bring the financial sector under the same rules as other business corporations that are currently under the Canada Business Corporations Act which took effect in 2001.

However, this Liberal government should walk the talk. While it is busy bringing in Bill C-57 on corporate governance, cleaning it up and making it transparent, what do we see from the government itself? Canadians have been subjected to another year of false projection, junk accounting and misleading government spin. The Liberals continue to hide behind phoney numbers and false forecasts.

The Liberal budget of 2005 projection of $3 billion was a lowball figure, as we now know. The government would have presented a budget surplus of $6 billion if it had not been engaged in unbudgeted spending and junk accounting which served to reduce the surplus numbers close to what the budget projection then was.

Parliament's numbers, the work done by the four forecasters hired by the finance committee to check on what the projections were from the finance department and, more important, the finance minister, revealed early on that the Liberals were sitting on billions of dollars more than the budget 2005 projections that were claimed.

In April Parliament's numbers projected a surplus of $6.1 billion and most recently, in July, a surplus of $.64 billion. Now those same fiscal forecasters are continuing on and we hope to get a budget for them to continue their work.

This points out the Liberal government's questionable budgetary practices that underscore the need for a parliamentary budget office, as was presented in the new Conservative federal accountability act. Canadians deserve honest and independent forecast projections, so that Parliament can engage in a debate as to how surplus money should be allocated and in fact, whether those kinds of surpluses should be allowed to build up. In any event, maybe we need to lower tax rates, so we do not run those massive surpluses. We see sometimes that the government gets carried away just before elections and all kinds of crazy spending is coming out most recently.

We are in agreement with this. It would help several sectors. It would help The Co-operators, I know, which is a big cooperative financial institution. We have some concerns for other sectors, like the chartered accountants. We are willing to explore those further. I think it is important to get the financial sector under the same rules that other corporations are under in this country and that shareholders have the transparency they need to make investments in the sectors that are involved under this legislation.

Bank Act
Government Orders

5:15 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Madam Speaker, I will speak briefly to Bill C-57.

We had some reservations when this bill was first introduced, but after it went through committee and witnesses suggested avenues for improving it, especially after hearing actuaries and their concerns, we decided to support it.

We still have a few unanswered questions regarding the confidentiality of information on bank operations. However, on the whole, I think this bill is worth passing. It is an improvement on the current situation. It is an extension of Bill S-11, which was introduced last year. We will therefore support it.

As a next step, I think it would be worthwhile to look at the issue of confidentiality of the operations of banks and their boards of directors. But for now, we are supporting the bill. More improvements can be made to it later.

In a nutshell, I am announcing to the House that we will be supporting this bill.

Bank Act
Government Orders

5:15 p.m.

NDP

David Christopherson Hamilton Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to say a few brief words about the bill before the House. The caucus of the NDP will be supporting this bill and I will take a moment to underscore one of the main reasons why.

People know that the predecessor to the NDP was the CCF. Cooperative was part of the name of that party. One of the things that we like most about this legislation is the fact that there is now going to be an alignment of the Cooperative Credit Associations Act and the Bank Act.

That is important because the bill would allow cooperatively structured companies to receive the same treatment in terms of their share requirements as those afforded other traditionally structured organizations. As the current legislation stands, this treatment apparently does not happen because of outdated limitations.

In passing this bill we are supporting and promoting cooperatively structured corporations and companies. We believe that is a good thing. The more cooperative structured entities we have then the greater the differences in terms of the raison d'être of corporations.

On the one hand corporations are dollar driven and profit driven only. That is the be all to end all and that is the way things are structured. Often a cooperatively structured company still needs to make money and still has to profit from being in existence. Usually, with a cooperatively structured company or entity of any sort, there are other reasons why that company is active in terms of the work it does or the services it provides. Often there is a benefit that goes way beyond that of just increased profits, and that is good for the economy. It provides further diversification and a difference in the kinds of engines that are driving our economy and the results that we are getting from them.

This is an area that still needs work as far as my party is concerned. It is not complete. The bill is positive in enough areas like the one I have just mentioned that we are comfortable in giving our support to it and we will reflect that when it comes time to vote.

Bank Act
Government Orders

5:20 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Hon. Jean Augustine)

Pursuant to order made earlier today, the question is deemed put and the motion is deemed carried on division.

(Motion agreed to, bill read the third time and passed)

Business of the House
Government Orders

5:20 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Hon. Jean Augustine)

I would like to inform the House that under the provisions of Standing Order 97.1(2) I am designating Wednesday, November 30, 2005, as the day fixed for the consideration of the motion to concur in the 19th report of the Standing Committee on Finance. This report contains a recommendation not to proceed further with Bill C-273, an act to amend the Income Tax Act (deduction for volunteer emergency service).

I am designating Thursday, December 1, 2005, as the day fixed for the consideration of the motion to concur in the 14th report of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration. The report contains a recommendation not to proceed further with Bill C-283, an act to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations.

Business of the House
Government Orders

5:20 p.m.

Liberal

Karen Redman Kitchener Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Could you seek the unanimous consent of the House to see the clock as 5:30 p.m.?

Business of the House
Government Orders

5:20 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Hon. Jean Augustine)

Is there unanimous consent that we see the clock as 5:30 p.m.?

Business of the House
Government Orders

5:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

The House resumed from November 16 consideration of the motion that Bill C-248, An Act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (trafficking in a controlled drug or substance within five hundred metres of an elementary school or a high school), be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Controlled Drugs and Substances Act
Private Members' Business

5:25 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Hon. Jean Augustine)

It being 5:30 p.m. the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at second reading stage of Bill C-248 under private members' business.

Call in the members.

Before the Clerk announced the results of the vote:

Controlled Drugs and Substances Act
Private Members' Business

5:55 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Perhaps the hon. Minister of International Cooperation could tell us which way she meant to vote.

Controlled Drugs and Substances Act
Private Members' Business

5:55 p.m.

Liberal

Aileen Carroll Barrie, ON

Mr. Speaker, I apologize for not having paid adequate attention. I wish to be registered as voting against the motion.

(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Controlled Drugs and Substances Act
Private Members' Business

5:55 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

I declare the motion carried. Accordingly the bill stands referred to the Standing Committee on Justice, Human Rights, Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.

(Bill read the second time and referred to a committee)

The House resumed from November 18 consideration of the motion that Bill C-301, An Act to amend the Old Age Security Act (monthly guaranteed income supplement), be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Old Age Security Act
Private Members' Business

5:55 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at second reading stage of Bill C-301 under private members' business.

(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Old Age Security Act
Private Members' Business

6:05 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

I declare the motion carried. Accordingly, the bill is referred to the Standing Committee of Human Resources Development, Skills Development, Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities.

(Bill read the second time and referred to a committee)

Old Age Security Act
Private Members' Business

6:05 p.m.

Conservative

Brian Pallister Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. My understanding of the rules of this place is one must be in his or her chair at the time of the commencement of a vote. As much as I agree with the vote cast by the Minister of National Revenue, I cannot sit in acquiescence just because we agree on this bill. I believe if you confer with the minister you would find he entered the chamber after voting had commenced and therefore his vote should not be cast on the previous motion.

Old Age Security Act
Private Members' Business

6:05 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

I do not keep track of the members as they come and go, but perhaps the Minister of National Revenue could tell us exactly what happened.

Old Age Security Act
Private Members' Business

6:05 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is possible that the hon. member is correct. I came in when I came in, I sat down and voted when it was my turn to vote.

Old Age Security Act
Private Members' Business

6:10 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Roberval, QC

I rise on another point of order, Mr. Speaker.

Since all members present voted in favour of the bill at second reading, I think that we could find unanimous consent to put it to a vote at third reading immediately. This would ensure retroactivity for seniors.

Old Age Security Act
Private Members' Business

6:10 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Let us deal with the first point of order first. Given the uncertainty, perhaps we will correct the record on the vote from the Minister of National Revenue and consider that no vote was cast.

Dealing with the point of order of the House leader of the Bloc Québécois, he has asked for unanimous consent to proceed to third reading. Is there consent?

Old Age Security Act
Private Members' Business

6:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Old Age Security Act
Private Members' Business

6:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

No.

The House resumed from November 21 consideration of the motion that Bill C-251, An Act to amend the Parliament of Canada Act (members who cross the floor), be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Parliament of Canada Act
Private Members' Business

6:10 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at second reading stage of Bill C-251 under private members' business.

Before the Clerk announced the results of the vote:

Parliament of Canada Act
Private Members' Business

6:20 p.m.

Liberal

Eleni Bakopanos Ahuntsic, QC

Mr. Speaker, I was not registered for that vote because I was distracted. I would like to be registered as voting with the government against the motion.

Parliament of Canada Act
Private Members' Business

6:20 p.m.

Conservative

Garry Breitkreuz Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, I would like to be recorded as voting yes.

Parliament of Canada Act
Private Members' Business

6:20 p.m.

Conservative

James Lunney Nanaimo—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to be recorded as voting yes to the motion.

Parliament of Canada Act
Private Members' Business

6:20 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Is the hon. member switching his vote from a no to a yes?

Parliament of Canada Act
Private Members' Business

6:20 p.m.

Conservative

James Lunney Nanaimo—Alberni, BC

Yes.

(The House divided on the motion, which was negatived on the following division:)

Parliament of Canada Act
Private Members' Business

6:20 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

I declare the motion lost.

Parliament of Canada Act
Private Members' Business

6:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I would like some explanations. Earlier I rose to seek unanimous consent. I wanted Bill C-301, providing retroactivity to seniors who did not get their Guaranteed Income Supplement, introduced by my colleague from Champlain, to be read the third time immediately, since it was passed unanimously by this House at second reading. I therefore sought unanimous consent for that.

During the last vote I had a chance to verify. The NDP is in favour of the Guaranteed Income Supplement and so are the Conservatives. I want to know whether the government, after voting in favour of the bill at second reading stage—

Parliament of Canada Act
Private Members' Business

6:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Parliament of Canada Act
Private Members' Business

6:25 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Order, please. It is an interesting question, but I do not think it is a point of order. Several hon. members then said no.

There was no unanimous consent and it is time to move on.

Parliament of Canada Act
Private Members' Business

6:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bonnie Brown Oakville, ON

Mr. Speaker, it might help you to know that the premise of the member's motion was based on the idea that the House was unanimous in voting in favour. You probably have not had time to check but I did not vote in favour of that particular motion.

Parliament of Canada Act
Private Members' Business

6:25 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

If I could just intervene really quickly. We had a request for unanimous consent to move immediately to third reading but there was no unanimous consent so the issue is over.

The hon. member for Vancouver East, is this on the same issue? If this is on a different issue, the hon. member for Vancouver East.

Parliament of Canada Act
Private Members' Business

6:25 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like it to be clear, because it was very confusing at the time, that 100% of the NDP--

Parliament of Canada Act
Private Members' Business

6:25 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

There is no confusion. There was no consent.

The House resumed from November 22 consideration of the motion that Bill C-380, An Act to amend the Canada Labour Code (pregnant or nursing employees), be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Canada Labour Code
Private Members' Business

6:25 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at the second reading stage of Bill C-380 under private members' business.

(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Canada Labour Code
Private Members' Business

6:35 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

I declare the motion carried. Accordingly, the bill stands referred to the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills Development, Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities.

(Bill read the second time and referred to a committee)

Message from the Senate
Private Members' Business

6:35 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

I have the honour to inform the House that a message has been received from the Senate informing this House that the Senate has passed certain bills, to which the concurrence of this House is desired.

It being 6:38 p.m., the House will now proceed to the consideration of private members' business as listed on today's order paper.

The House proceeded to the consideration of Bill C-331, An Act to recognize the injustice that was done to persons of Ukrainian descent and other Europeans who were interned at the time of the First World War and to provide for public commemoration and for restitution which is to be devoted to public education and the promotion of tolerance, as reported (with amendment) from the committee.

Ukrainian Canadian Restitution Act
Private Members' Business

6:35 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Before the House proceeds to report stage of Bill C-331, I would like to refer hon. members to my ruling of March 21, 2005 at pages 4372 and 4373 of Hansard, in which I determined that Bill C-331, in the form it was then in, required a royal recommendation in order to be put to a vote at third reading. At that time, I said, “If the bill is amended at committee or report stage, the need for a royal recommendation may be removed and a vote may be requested”.

The Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage reported the bill with amendments on November 3. I have examined the report and note that the bill has been amended so as to remove the need for a royal recommendation. Accordingly, Bill C-331 may proceed to a vote at third reading.

Ukrainian Canadian Restitution Act
Private Members' Business

6:40 p.m.

Conservative

Inky Mark Dauphin—Swan River, MB

moved that the bill, as amended, be concurred in.

(Motion agreed to)

Ukrainian Canadian Restitution Act
Private Members' Business

6:40 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

When shall the bill be read the third time? By leave, now?

Ukrainian Canadian Restitution Act
Private Members' Business

6:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Ukrainian Canadian Restitution Act
Private Members' Business

6:40 p.m.

Conservative

Inky Mark Dauphin—Swan River, MB

moved that the bill be read the third time and passed.

Mr. Speaker, first let me thank the member for Kildonan—St. Paul for seconding the bill and for her continued support of the Ukrainian community in Winnipeg.

It is indeed an honour to rise this evening to debate Bill C-331, the Ukrainian Canadian restitution act, at its final reading.

This is a historic day not only for the over one million Ukrainian Canadians, but also for Canada as a society.

I will not use up all of my allotted time in order that all members and all parties get to speak to Bill C-331 this evening.

It is indeed a miracle that Bill C-331 has made it this far. The question I ask is how did Bill C-331 get this far? Bill C-331 succeeded because there was goodwill and cooperation on the part of many people. I have a lot of people to thank. Getting Bill C-331 to this stage has truly been a team effort.

It was truly a team effort on the part of the Ukrainian community, the Taras Shevchenko Foundation, the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, the Ukrainian Civil Liberties Association and the thousands of Canadians of Ukrainian descent who have worked on this redress issue for over two decades.

It was truly a team effort on the part of the House of Commons, the Liberal government members, the Conservative Party members, the Bloc Party members as well as the NDP members.

We all know that after two decades it is time for the government to resolve this outstanding issue in the history of this country. This bleak event in Canadian history must be recognized and we, as a society, must learn from it. This is an issue of justice denied.

I am honoured to have tabled Bill C-331 three times in the House. I am honoured to have had the opportunity to represent the wishes of the Ukrainian community in Canada.

Passing Bill C-331 demonstrates the mature Canada that people in this country expect. It makes a loud statement that Canada has grown up, that Canada can accept its past, that Canada can learn from its past, that Canada will not repeat this history.

Bill C-331 would never have gotten out of committee without the full cooperation of its members and political parties. I want to thank the heritage minister, the chairman of the heritage committee, the parliamentary secretary, all the party leaders, including my own party leader who spoke at the second reading stage of Bill C-331, and all members of the committee.

All members of the committee involved in this parliamentary process, in fact all members of the House, can surely take credit for the success of Bill C-331. There was political will to do the right thing and that actually happened to help push Bill C-331 to this stage this evening.

It is my hope that in passing Bill C-331, the House of Commons will send a strong signal to this government and to the next government that the people of Canada have spoken and spoken loudly to get on with it and to bring resolution to this issue.

Ukrainian Canadian Restitution Act
Private Members' Business

6:40 p.m.

Conservative

Joy Smith Kildonan—St. Paul, MB

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for persevering with Bill C-331 and for standing up for the Ukrainian community.

Tonight is a historic moment in the House of Commons because all parties have been a part of something that is very good. I applaud the member for Dauphin—Swan River—Marquette for taking the leadership.

Could the member please make some comments about the future in terms of what will happen with the bill?

Ukrainian Canadian Restitution Act
Private Members' Business

6:45 p.m.

Conservative

Inky Mark Dauphin—Swan River, MB

Mr. Speaker, as we in this chamber know, the probability is high that the House will rise next week, which means that even if the bill passes the House this evening, it will not get consent through the Senate.

Even with that, we have reached a point of success that is miraculous, as the bill has been tabled three times and the Ukrainian community in Canada has struggled for over two decades to find resolution to their redress issues.

I must repeat that I believe if the House has the will to pass the bill this evening, it certainly will send a strong message to this government and the next government that the country is speaking and that this issue cannot continually drag on. Issues like these must be resolved. The government must bring resolution to this issue.

Ukrainian Canadian Restitution Act
Private Members' Business

6:45 p.m.

Yukon
Yukon

Liberal

Larry Bagnell Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, I thank you for your good work over this session.

I thank the member both for his speech and for leaving me some time because I wanted to get my speech of support in too. I think this is great. I wonder if the member could comment on reparation in general, not just for this particular group. The fact is that we are doing a number of these and there are a number of them to do. Could he talk about the whole philosophy? Someone approached me on that question so I would like the member to speak to that in general.

Ukrainian Canadian Restitution Act
Private Members' Business

6:45 p.m.

Conservative

Inky Mark Dauphin—Swan River, MB

Mr. Speaker, I must thank the government members and committee members for taking a very broad approach to the bill. Certainly they easily could have defeated the bill in committee, but realizing that there are other issues following this redress issue that need to be resolved, there is no doubt that the way the bill has been crafted it certainly could become a template for other communities in Canada to follow. I certainly believe that if we pass the bill it will be used as a template down the road for other groups.

Ukrainian Canadian Restitution Act
Private Members' Business

6:45 p.m.

Parkdale—High Park
Ontario

Liberal

Sarmite Bulte Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Minister responsible for Status of Women and Minister responsible for Industry (Women Entrepreneurs)

Mr. Speaker, let me begin by thanking the hon. member for his bill and his cooperation at committee. We have been able to finally address a very important issue, an issue that struck at the hearts of all committee members. I want to thank him for his tremendous determination and hard work in this regard. I am so pleased to see that we are finally at third reading today.

Canada's experience with diversity distinguishes it from most other countries. Our 30 million inhabitants reflect a cultural, ethnic and linguistic makeup found nowhere else on the earth. Over 200,000 immigrants a year from all parts of the globe continue to choose Canada, drawn by its quality of life and its reputation as an open, peaceful and caring society that welcomes newcomers and indeed values diversity.

From Confederation through the boom years of immigration prior to World War I, to the inter-war years and the current post-war era, our immigration policy and legislation have helped to shape the Canada we have today. Over time, Canadian governments have reflected society's increasing willingness to accept differences within the population and specifically the legitimacy of the rights of minorities to maintain their culture and also their traditions. Throughout our history, there have, however, been instances of laws that would be considered regressive today.

In Canada, the years prior to World War I witnessed heavy immigration from eastern Europe. When war broke out, the country faced a serious problem: what to do with recent immigrants who were citizens of the countries with which Canada was at war.

The problem became quite acute in 1914 when German and Austro-Hungarian nationals resident in Canada were called upon by their respective governments to return home to honour their military draft obligations.

The War Measures Act of 1914 stated in section 6 that:

The Governor in Council may do and authorize such acts and things, and make from time to time such orders and regulations, as he may by reason of the existence of real or apprehended war, invasion or insurrection deem necessary or advisable for the security, defence, peace, order and welfare of Canada;... it is hereby declared that the powers of the Governor in Council shall extend to all matters coming within the classes of subjects hereinafter enumerated, that is to say....

Among other things were included “arrest, detention, exclusion and deportation” and “appropriation, control, forfeiture and disposition of property and of the use thereof”.

Under orders made pursuant to the War Measures Act, 8,579 people--civilians and prisoners of war--were interned in 26 camps across Canada during the first world war. The internees were composed of a mix of nationalities, including Turkish, Bulgarian, German and Austro-Hungarian. The largest number were from Germany and the Austro-Hungarian empire, which included Croatians, Czechs, Poles, Serbians and other Europeans. The numbers also included perhaps 5,000 Ukrainians out of an estimated population of about 171,000 of Ukrainian origin in Canada at that time.

From the beginning, internees were treated as prisoners of war and, in keeping with the terms of the Hague convention, received the same standards of food, clothing and accommodations as Canadian soldiers. It is estimated that by the end of the war in 1918 there were only three internment camps remaining in operation. The last camp officially closed in February 1920.

Under the federal Office of the Custodian of Enemy Property, a claims process was adjudicated in the post-war period of World War I and World War II. The government had determined that after World War I some moneys went unclaimed from some internees of Austro-Hungarian empire descent, despite advertisements in mainstream and ethnocultural newspapers.

In 1976, convinced the vast majority of claims had been resolved, the Government of Canada closed this office. As the Hon. Sheila Finestone stated in the House of Commons in 1994:

--as Canadians we are proud that our citizens trace their origins to every part of the world. Together we have built this country on the principles of fairness, generosity and compassion. Our history records the remarkable success we have achieved by applying those principles.

Our history also records that at times we have strayed from them. There have been episodes that have caused suffering to people.

In the crisis atmosphere of war, some Canadian ethnocultural communities found their loyalty questioned, their freedom restrained and their lives disrupted.

Canadians wish those episodes had never happened. We wish those practices had never occurred.

Allow me to continue to quote:

We all share in the responsibility to learn from the past. The Government of Canada believes that our common obligation lies in preventing such situations from ever occurring again.

With that statement in the House, the government adopted a policy on historical redress, which, first, reaffirmed the uniqueness of the Japanese Canadian redress agreement; second, confirmed that no financial compensation would be awarded to individuals or communities for historical events; third, committed to a forward-looking agenda to ensure that such practices did not recur; and fourth, noted that limited and future federal resources would be used to create a more equitable society.

Indeed, the establishment of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation was a signal of federal commitment to eliminate racism and racial discrimination. In this regard, the foundation officially opened its doors in November 1997.

Canada in 2005 is a very different Canada. Tremendous steps have been taken toward making our country a better place. Beginning in 1950 with the report of the Massey-Lévesque commission, ethnocultural diversity gradually came to be understood as an essential ingredient in a distinct Canadian identity.

The Canadian Bill of Rights in 1960 recognized and declared that certain human rights and fundamental freedoms existed, without discrimination on the grounds of race, national origin, colour, religion or sex. In 1970, Canada ratified the international convention on the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination. As a party to the convention, Canada has undertaken to prohibit and to eliminate racial discrimination in all its forms.

The Canadian Human Rights Act of 1977 proclaimed that all individuals should have equal opportunity with others without being discriminated against on the grounds of race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital or family status, disability or conviction for an offence for which a pardon has been granted.

In 1982, section 15 of the newly adopted Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms also recognized that every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability. Section 15 came into effect in 1985.

In addition, the multicultural character of Canada gained constitutional recognition in section 27 of the charter. It specified that the courts were to interpret the charter “in a manner consistent with the preservation and enhancement of the multicultural heritage of Canadians”. The Canadian Multiculturalism Act of 1988 affirmed multiculturalism as a fundamental characteristic of Canadian society.

We have worked and will continue working with Ukrainian Canadians and other ethnocultural communities to document their history and experiences through a range of commemorative projects, including films, books and exhibits that enable them to tell their stories to other Canadians.

To conclude, I would again like to thank the member for his efforts and his hard work to ensure that the bill will become law. I strongly believe in the need to acknowledge and commemorate the historical events referred to in Bill C-331 as well as educate Canadians about these experiences. No matter how much we might wish to erase these events from the history of our country, today's government cannot, nor can we pay for restitution for historical actions without placing an undue burden on existing and future generations that are in no way responsible for these events.

The Ukrainian community has helped to shape the strong multicultural society we are today. I truly honour the contribution that individuals of Ukrainian descent have made in the building of Canada and I recognize that this contribution was made even in the face of dark moments and great hardship.

It is important that we find an acceptable way to highlight it and educate Canadians about this contribution. I am pleased that Bill C-331 offers us a way forward in doing just that. I encourage all members of the House to support it in its amended form.

Ukrainian Canadian Restitution Act
Private Members' Business

6:55 p.m.

Bloc

Meili Faille Vaudreuil-Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, Quebec and Canada have been enriched by the men and women of all origins who take different paths to get here, bringing with them their traditions, customs and cultural baggage.

Between 1891 and 1914, Canada recruited agricultural immigrants from eastern Europe, inviting them to settle here and work the land in the Prairie provinces. Approximately 170,000 people immigrated to Canada before the first world war. We salute their contribution to the vitality of Quebec and Canada.

Unfortunately, there are dark days in Canadian history, when the government of the day interned people of Ukrainian origin because they were suspected of espionage and other illegal activities.

Agricultural immigrants got a decidedly colder welcome, particularly after the war broke out. In addition to being interned, Ukrainian immigrants lost their right to vote and the government confiscated their personal property.

In other words, we gave them land, the right to work and a place to live and then, without warning, we took it all away. They worked without pay on the development of Banff national park, in the forestry industry in northern Ontario and in Quebec, in the steel industry and the mines.

Today, the percentage of individuals arriving from different regions of the world continues to increase. This is excellent news, particularly since the latest waves of immigrants are highly educated graduates, who are emigrating in significantly higher numbers.

We are all expected to give them a warm welcome and to help them successfully integrate. We must ensure that they get their fair share of jobs and that they become full citizens as soon as possible.

This bill to render justice to Ukrainians and other Europeans from the former Austro-Hungarian empire who were incarcerated in internment camps during the first world war recognizes that Canada made serious mistakes and that immigration ministers implemented excessive measures.

We must remember what happened. Our collective memory will help us to ensure that we do not make these mistakes again.

During this session, I have spoken many times about citizenship and immigration. Immigration is not just about accountability, it is also about the men and women who want to help build Quebec and Canada. They expect to be treated in a just and equitable manner.

Before claiming victory, and knowing the many problems and inconsistencies in the current immigration policies, allow me again to emphasize to my colleagues in this House and invite them to reflect on the lot and the future of the people they receive. How would they like to be treated if they were in the same situation?

Early in my mandate, I met a great lady whose father is Chinese and mother is Ukrainian. Her father paid the infamous head tax required from Chinese persons and her mother had been unfairly targeted for many years because of immigration decisions that were made at the turn of the century.

She tried to hide her identity for a long time and I think that is very sad. There are many things people still do not know about Canada's history. I hope the steps Parliament is taking in various matters of this nature will comfort the communities concerned.

Bill C-331 has the support of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress and the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association. I want to commend and thank those who have supported this cause and worked so hard on it for the past 20 years.

We have heard that Canada respected its international commitments on the treatment of prisoners of war throughout this entire painful experience. We do not share the opinion that this is what they were. We have some serious reservations about why the camps continued to exist until 1920, when the war had ended a long time before. Taking refuge behind treaties and conventions does not, however, excuse the fact that these people were subjected to disgraceful treatment.

Other incidents have been the subject of demands for reparation, and some have been settled. Others are still in progress. To give some examples: the forced assimilation and abuse of aboriginal children in boarding schools from 1847 to 1985; the head tax and the exclusionary legislation on the Chinese from 1885 to 1946; the imprisonment of lepers on two islands off the coast of British Columbia from 1891 to 1956; the unfair treatment of Caribbean blacks from 1900 to 1932; the closing of Canada's borders to persons of Jewish origin between 1938 and 1948; the internment of Italian and German Canadians during the second world war; the internment of Japanese Canadians during and after the second world war, from 1942 to 1949; and, after 1949, the refusal to pay benefits to aboriginal war veterans.

The path to freedom for a people is never easy. For this reason, I will take advantage of this moment to affirm the support of the Bloc Québécois for all those who are defending their liberty and equality at this time.

Anyone wishing to learn more about this subject can consult the Internet site www.infoukes.com, where there are a number of photos and explanatory texts.

Immigration is an increasingly important phenomenon in our society. We must be equal to the ideals we defend. We must be capable of acknowledging errors so that history will not repeat itself.

Ukrainian Canadian Restitution Act
Private Members' Business

7 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am very honoured to join in this debate on a very important issue that has been neglected for many years.

I would like to thank the member for Dauphin—Swan River—Marquette for his perseverance on this issue and for all those who are now prepared to join in and support the passage of the bill to enact this long overdue measure. That is the issue at hand.

Can we as a Parliament put aside our differences? Can we put aside our normal process to ensure that Bill C-331 is actually enacted today?

It must be today because of the amount of time and energy that has been spent on this issue of recognition for a very deplorable time in our history when Ukrainians in Canada were interned because they were under suspicion during World War I.

All of my colleagues in the NDP caucus support the bill. I want to talk today a bit about not only the urgency but the fact that Ukrainian Canadians have contributed so much to our country. Yet, there has been so little done to deal with some very grievous chapters in the history of this country.

One is the internment of Ukrainian Canadians. The other ties into an important anniversary that we just commemorated this past week, and that is the 70th anniversary of the genocide and famine experienced by Ukrainians during the time of Stalin.

Both issues have been before the House. Both issues deserve action and both issues have been waiting for something to be done. There were lots of promises made, lots of attempts to advance the agenda on this, but to date there has been so little progress.

We all recall, leading up to the last election, how this issue that the member for Dauphin—Swan River—Marquette had brought to our attention was going to be addressed by the then Minister of Canadian Heritage. There were great expectations on the part of the Ukrainian community that this would have been carried out and that this chapter in our history would have been dealt with. Unfortunately, we know what happened. The commitment made by the minister at the time was not kept by the government of the day and in fact, we are still trying to resolve this egregious chapter in our history.

On the question of the famine, I want to acknowledge the work of the member for Dauphin—Swan River—Marquette and others who have tried to get this resolved. We still have not had a proper recognition of that tragedy in our history. I want to mention that in Winnipeg, as the member for Dauphin--Swan River--Marquette and others know, great work is being done to get this sorry chapter in our history recognized as part of the new museum on human rights that we hope will be opened in the Forks.

My colleagues from Windsor, the members for Windsor—Tecumseh and Windsor West, have both been a part of a project in their city in establishing the first ever monument to recognize this sorry chapter in our history, that being the famine and genocide during the Stalinist regime. That monument was unveiled in a prominent part of Windsor, in Jackson Park. That has given a focal point for Ukrainians in Canada.

However, we need to do more and we certainly want to see the government recognize all across the country how this awful period in our history came about, and how we have to commit ourselves to prevent genocide and acts of hatred in the future.

With respect to Bill C-331, clearly, it is about recognition for this period in our history, the internment of Ukrainian Canadians. It is also about beginning a period of negotiation and discussion around restitution and settlement. There needs to be some proper recognition for the pain and suffering of individuals during this period of time involving the compensation for confiscated property, and the loss of dignity and wealth that was never returned.

Let us not only recognize this travesty, this sorry chapter in our history, but let us also put our minds and hearts at work to ensure that there is some sort of restitution for this terrible time in our history.

I want to recognize the work of the Ukrainian community in Winnipeg. My colleague the member for Dauphin--Swan River--Marquette has done that and has received a lot of support from the Ukrainian Canadian community.

In particular, I want to reference the work that has been done by those who have told the stories and continue to tell the stories across the country. I would like to read for the record one such story that has been circulated to all of us. It was written by Pierre Pawliw. He wrote:

During World War I, my mother, Stephania Mielniczuk, at the age of 3 years was taken along with her parents to the internment camp located at Spirit Lake, in the Abitibi region of Quebec. She never talked about this while I was growing up. In fact, I only learned about it from my aunt that I visited in Poland in 1984. When I asked my mother why she never mentioned it, she told me it was on account that she thought that I, along with her other four children, would think she was some kind of foolish old woman.

What happened to my mother, and to countless other Ukrainians and people of eastern Europe is an integral part of Canada's history. We cannot brush it aside as distorted memories of foolish individuals. We must recognize what happened so that the individuals that labored in these camps be remembered as people who contributed to making Canada a great country.

Those words probably express better than all of the speeches in the House why we must act today, and why we must support the hard work of the member for Dauphin--Swan River--Marquette. Those words express why we must stand together to honour the contribution of Ukrainian Canadians in this country. It has often been said that we cannot go forward until we remember the past. Here is a precise example of just that.

While we are all tidying up loose ends and complete some outstanding work of the House as we will likely proceed to an election in short order, I hope that we can actually take the little time that is necessary to ensure that all stages of Bill C-331 are completed today. I hope that we can put the final stamp of approval on this legislative initiative and ensure that Ukrainian Canadians remember this Parliament as one that stood up for recognition of their contribution to this country.

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Private Members' Business

7:10 p.m.

Conservative

Joy Smith Kildonan—St. Paul, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour today to rise in the House of Commons in a most historic moment. This is a moment when we are on the soon to be election trail, yet all sides of the House have agreed to the importance of Bill C-331.

I rise today to address this important and unfortunate chapter in Canadian history.

Bill C-331 is an act to recognize the injustice that was done to persons of Ukrainian descent who were interned at the time of the first world war. It will provide for public commemoration and for redress devoted to public education and the promotion of tolerance.

I would like to thank my colleague, the Conservative member for Dauphin—Swan River—Marquette, for not only presenting the bill, but for holding the torch high for the people of Ukrainian descent to ensure redress became a reality and to right this historic wrong.

Today in the House of Commons I will concur with what the member across the way from Winnipeg North said. Tonight we need to ensure that the bill is passed, signed, sealed and delivered for the good of our Canadian history and for the good of the people of Ukrainian descent in our country.

Between 1914 and 1920 thousands of loyal Canadians were systematically arrested and interned in 24 camps throughout the country simply because of their national origin. This happened because at the outset of the first world war the western Ukraine was occupied by the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and at that time Canada was at war with Austria-Hungary.

In the midst of wartime hysteria, people of Ukrainian descent were automatically connected to Austria-Hungary and were deemed to be a threat to our nation. This was a gross mistake that would prove to place a black mark on our Canadian history.

In actual fact, many of the Ukrainian Canadians fled their homeland and were refugees of Canada's wartime enemy, and were not enemies of Canada at all. They were loyal British subjects, allies of our wartime cause. In fact, many who were interned were born in Canada, but bore the wrong name.

When interned, men, women and children were forced to perform hard labour and live in their own homeland of Canada under very trying circumstances.

We cannot rewrite history. Nor can we change the fact that this injustice occurred. However, as heirs of our society we can acknowledge injustice and we can ensure that never again will this be allowed to happen on our Canadian soil.

Again, commend the member for Dauphin—Swan River—Marquette for his perseverance, for holding his torch high to ensure that this injustice was corrected. To his great efforts, I commend my colleague for his perseverance and for him being able to witness tonight this historic event where all members on all sides of the House will join together to ensure that Bill C-331 is acclaimed.

Our modern history will mark its pages with the heroes of the Orange revolution in Ukraine. It is the recent history that will mark the people of Ukraine and the people of Ukrainian descent in Canada.

I spent my last Christmas in eastern Ukraine in Luhansk, helping with the election which was eventually won by Yuschenko. The beautiful countryside that spread out just 30 kilometres from the Russian border housed the courageous residents of Ukraine. These were people who wanted one thing. They wanted to be able to vote for the leader of their country and vote for whomever they wanted.

I grew to love the people and admire their hard work and dedication to their country. I was amazed when I walked the streets of Kiev and visited with the many people undergoing hardship, again to ensure they sent a message to their government that they wanted to be free to vote for whomever they chose.

The people of Ukraine became the heroes and the leaders of the world because they accomplished something no other nation had been able to achieve, the right to independence, the freedom to vote for whomever they wanted, without shedding one drop of blood.

The people of Ukraine have become my heroes because they are an example to the rest of the world. They are an example of the perseverance that we have seen from the member for Dauphin--Swan River--Marquette. They are an example of the perseverance, the good heart and the hard work that it takes to make things happen.

Under the tents in Kiev, many people underwent hardship, but they had a vision for their country, the same as today where members on all sides of the House have a vision for this bill.

Today in the riding of Kildonan--St. Paul, leaders in Ukrainian communities such as Lesia Swaluk and Ostap Skrypnyk, do much to enhance and support the Ukrainian community, not only in my riding but in my province of Manitoba and throughout the world. They too are part of the courageous heritage that holds the banner high, a heritage that is an example not only to our nation but to the global community.

I support Bill C-311, the Ukrainian Canadian restitution act, and I am proud to do so. In these turbulent times in the House of Commons, we are able to come together for a common good, and that common good has a leader in the member for Dauphin--Swan River--Marquette who has done much to ensure that the leadership had a very conciliatory genre to it, so in the end this could happen.

It is a miracle, as he said a little earlier, that there has been unanimous consent on all sides of the House to ensure that the bill is passed in the House of Commons and that the Ukrainian Canadian restitution act will give due respect and diligence to the people of Ukrainian descent who were put through so much trauma during the first world war.

This is a good thing tonight. We can all hold our heads high. This will mark the fact that many immigrants and many people who have come to Canada have made up the mosaic of our great nation.

It is with much pride that I have had the opportunity to speak to the bill. I congratulate all members of the House on its success.

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Private Members' Business

7:20 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Catterall Ottawa West—Nepean, ON

Mr. Speaker, if it is acceptable to the House, I would like to split my time with the member for Yukon.

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7:20 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Does the hon. member for Ottawa West--Nepean have the unanimous consent of the House to split her time with the hon. member for Yukon?

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7:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

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7:20 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Catterall Ottawa West—Nepean, ON

Mr. Speaker, I join others in congratulating the member for Dauphin—Swan River—Marquette for his persistence and for his flexibility in ensuring we could come to this point tonight. As chair of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage, it was a pleasure to deal with the member and other members of our committee. It also was a pleasure to see that an initiative by a member of Parliament could have the attention of the government. He, government officials and the minister were prepared to work cooperatively to come to an agreement on what should be in the bill that would satisfy everybody.

An important partnership in these discussions was also the Ukrainian-Canadian community nationally. All in all I this is a long overdue, but it is a most welcome step toward reconciliation for wrongs of the past. The House, and Canadians have heard the wrongs done to Canadians of Ukrainian origin during and following the first world war. These circumstances are not proud moments in our past. Nor are they actions that Canadians today would consider acceptable.

As we move forward, we are trying to do a couple of things. First, is to recognize and acknowledge a wrong was done. Second, is to work with the community as it decides how it would like that sad stage in the history of Ukrainian-Canadians, and in our history as a country, commemorated and how it would like other Canadians to learn about the experiences as a way of contributing to avoiding this type of thing happening in the future.

We did not have safeguards in place back then to protect the rights of Canadians, to ensure that governments could not act in this kind of arbitrary manner. As we move forward with the acknowledgement, commemoration and education of Canadians about these events, Canadians should be encouraged to appreciate how much Ukrainian-Canadians have contributed to our country and how much they have given despite the treatment received at that terribly dark time in our history. Ukrainian-Canadians are involved in every part of our society, in every profession, in the arts and culture. They have put aside understandable bitterness about the past to be fully contributing Canadians through many generations.

Part of moving forward is learning from the past and stiffening our resolve to not make the same mistakes again. I have to take a moment and say that at that time the government and Canadians thought it was all right in the name of security to remove certain privileges, rights and property of Canadians. I urge all of us to ensure that we examine the actions we take today so we do not make similar mistakes for which our children and grandchildren will judge us.

I am happy to support the bill. I also am happy to have had the chance to work on it, and that we have taken an important step toward reconciliation.

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Private Members' Business

7:25 p.m.

Yukon
Yukon

Liberal

Larry Bagnell Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, I too want to congratulate the member for his tremendous efforts.

As a country, we represent a coming together of many peoples and we have learned over time to respect and mutually accept each other. This is what sets Canada apart.

We have established a legal foundation, enshrined in our Constitution, that is aimed at ensuring Canadians are protected from racism and discrimination. We will continue to address these issues so that all Canadians have the opportunity to participate from their fullest potential. At the same time, we are working to strengthen the bonds of shared citizenship and to ensure the continuance of the strong and cohesive Canadian society that we have today.

The Government of Canada recognizes that there have been dark moments in the history of our country. We recognize that presenting our complete history, including those times when we have strayed from our shared commitment to human justice, and telling our stories is key to the understanding of who we are as Canadians.

Although legal at the time, the internment of Ukrainian Canadians and other Europeans during the first world war is one of those chapters about which Canadians are not proud. Our commitment as a government is to strengthen the fabric of Canada's multicultural society. We are committed to learning from the past and to acknowledging and commemorating the significant contributions to Canada made by the various ethno-racial and ethnocultural groups, including the Ukrainians.

The Department of Canadian Heritage and the cultural agencies of the Canadian Heritage portfolio have made considerable efforts to ensure the story of Ukrainians in Canada is known to all Canadians. Parks Canada works closely with national and local Ukrainian Canadian groups to develop interpretive exhibits in Banff National Park, Yoho National Park and Mount Revelstoke National Park. These exhibits help visitors to understand the experiences, hardships and contributions of Ukrainian internees.

The Department of Canadian Heritage has also provided funding to Ukrainian Canadian organizations to assist in documenting the experience of Canadian Ukrainian internees and to underline the contribution of the Ukrainian community to our nation.

Since the 1890s, when waves of Ukrainians helped settle this vast land, Ukrainians have played an important role in Canada. There are an incredible number of Canadians of Ukrainian heritage who have made extraordinary contributions to Canada. They are, to name just a few: Wayne Gretzky, star of our national sport of hockey; Ed Werenich, a world champion in curling; in the cultural sphere, artist William Kurelek; violinist, Steven Staryk; in public life, Ray Hnatyshyn and Roy Romanow; and, Canada's first woman in space, Roberta Bondar.

To think of Ukrainian Canadians is also to recall Canada's war hero, Peter Dmytruk, who died for all of us on the battlefields of France in world war two.

As Canadians, we are proud to live in a country that recognizes the importance of diversity.

It is true that as a society, looking forward to the future can be difficult when troubling memories from Canada's past go unacknowledged. Budget 2005 also provides $25 million over the next three years for commemorative and educational initiatives that will highlight the contributions that Ukrainians and other ethnocultural groups have made to Canadian society and that will help build a better understanding of Canadians and of the strength of Canadian diversity.

With this funding, the government is responding to demands from the community in a way that respects both the concerns of the communities and the government's 1994 policy on this issue. Bill C-331 has been adapted to reflect this forward looking approach. On that basis, I encourage the hon. members in the House to vote in favour of Bill C-331 in its current form and to help celebrate the diversity of this great nation.

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7:25 p.m.

Conservative

Inky Mark Dauphin—Swan River, MB

Mr. Speaker, let me dedicate my closing comments to Mary Manko Haskett, 97 years old and the last survivor of the internment.

Let me thank all the members who spoke in support of Bill C-331 this evening. I want to conclude by quoting three great Canadians of Ukrainian descent who appeared before the standing committee on October 25, 2005. I am sure that what members will hear will really reflect the position of the Ukrainian community across this country.

The first individual is Mr. Andrew Hladyshevsky, the president of the Canadian Ukrainian Canadian Foundation of Taras Shevchenko. This is what he said before the committee:

This is truly a day of historic importance to over one million Canadians who have Ukrainian Canadian heritage. It is an astounding day for us. It's the kind of day when you watch what's happening with your throat because you're not sure exactly what the emotions will do to you by being here. Thank you for allowing us to present to you.

Dr. Lubomyr Luciuk, director of research, Ukrainain Canadian Civil Liberties Association, a professor of history at the Royal Military College in Kingston said to the standing committee:

There they were forced to do heavy labour for the profit of their jailers. What little wealth some of them had was confiscated, and a portion of it still remains in the federal treasury to this very day. They suffered restrictions on their freedom of movement, association, and free speech, and in 1917, even disenfranchisement.

Everything that was done to them took place not because of anything they had done but only because of who they were, where they had come from. No wonder, then, that Ukrainian Canadians were reported to still be “in fear of the barbed-wire fence” decades afterwards.

The last individual I will quote this evening is Mr. Paul Grod, the first vice-president of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress. This is what he said to the committee:

The reason we are here today, and the reason your time on this bill is so important today, is that this bill is part of the healing process. It is part of the acknowledgement and recognition that is so important to more than a million Ukrainian Canadians, and to the tens of millions of Canadians who know little to nothing about one of the greatest tragedies in Canadian history.

In closing, I ask that you seek unanimous consent of the House to have Bill C-331 carried at all stages.

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7:30 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. member has asked if we could proceed with all stages of the bill. There is just one stage left in the bill and that is third reading.

Is the House ready for the question?

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7:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Question.

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7:30 p.m.

The Speaker

The question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

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7:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

(Motion agreed to, bill read the third time and passed)

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7:30 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

It being 7:33 p.m., the House stands adjourned until tomorrow at 10 a.m., pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).

(The House adjourned at 7:33 p.m.)