House of Commons Hansard #90 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was rcmp.

Topics

Civil Marriage Act
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Bramalea—Gore—Malton
Ontario

Liberal

Gurbax Malhi Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, I rise to support the traditional definition of marriage. Former U.S. President John F. Kennedy once said:

In whatever arena of life one may meet the challenge of courage, whatever may be the sacrifices he faces if he follows his conscience...each man must decide for himself the course he will follow...For this, each man must look into his own soul.

Since first being elected to the House of Commons, I have learned that the work of a member of Parliament is both demanding and inspiring. I have also learned that courage can come in many forms.

Sometimes it is the courage to build consensus, the courage to stand alone as well as the courage to stay the course. At other times, a politician must follow his conscience over the course of time, hoping that ultimately his courage will be recognized when passions have cooled.

It is with a firm commitment to my constituents in mind that I am speaking today on a subject that touches all our communities.

As hon. members may know, I firmly believe that strong families are the key to any successful society. For more than 6,000 years traditional marriage, defined as the union of a man and a woman, has allowed us to preserve and protect the strength of our families.

As I stated in the House on March 24, I believe that children deserve, where possible, the opportunity to receive the warmth and comfort of a mother as well as the protection of a father. The responsibility falls to each and every one of us to engage in careful debate on the marriage issue.

I have received thousands of letters, emails and phone calls from constituents and, by a wide margin, the majority of them support the traditional definition of marriage.

In the House of Commons I have always voted in support of the traditional definition of marriage. As my voting record will attest, in 2005, 2003, 2002, 1999 and 1995 I have consistently voted to support the traditional definition of marriage as being, and remaining, the union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others.

On more than 10 occasions over the years, I have stood in the House of Commons and tabled petitions bearing the signatures of thousands of constituents, firm in their conviction that marriage is the union of one man and one woman.

The traditional definition of marriage is part of our inheritance. When a husband and wife are in a committed marriage, they benefit each other in many ways, including better physical, emotional and financial well-being. In addition, the father and mother benefit their children in different yet complementary ways.

Under Canadian law, the legal concept of marriage, as the union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others, has existed since before Confederation. Marriage has many aspects: social, religious, emotional and financial, among others. It also has legal consequences, including a range of benefits and obligations.

Many people in Canada believe that marriage is fundamental to our society and that its primary function is to create a stable and supportive foundation for procreation and raising children. They believe that the opposite sex requirement of marriage is not only essential but that it is recognized precisely because of its link to procreation.

Marriage is a sociological and religious institution built on the biological fact that children are born to couples of the opposite sex and that the couples who produce most of these children, also raise and nurture them.

Although marriage is not only for procreation, the potential for having and raising children is central to the institution, as illustrated by the fact that the common law provided that a marriage could be invalidated because of impotence.

Given that the majority of Canadian children are both born to and raised by married couples, I believe that we need to promote marriage and reserve it exclusively for partners of the opposite sex to help ensure stability and support for children. This view of marriage is reflected in religious teachings in most major world religions.

In the last few years Parliament has discussed the meaning of marriage at least on three occasions as well as during debate on a series of bills introduced by individual members of Parliament or senators.

In 1999 Parliament passed, by a wide margin, a motion stating that Parliament will take all reasonable steps to maintain the opposite sex meaning of marriage in Canada.

In 2000 section 1.1 was added to the Modernization of Benefits and Obligations Act as an interpretive clause stating that nothing in the act altered the existing meaning of marriage as the “lawful union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others”.

In 2001 section 5 of the Federal Law--Civil Law Harmonization Act, No. 1 confirmed the opposite sex meaning of marriage in Quebec.

Marriage is a deeply rooted social and legal institution that has become deeply entrenched in our society. It is an institution well worth defending.

War Brides
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Andrew Telegdi Kitchener—Waterloo, ON

Mr. Speaker, between 1942 and 1948, 49,000 war brides and their over 21,000 children were brought to Canada in an immigrant wave paid for and sponsored by the Canadian government. By Privy Council Order in Council 7318, September 24, 1944, these war brides and their children were given Canadian citizenship upon landing in Canada.

It has slowly come to light that all across Canada war brides and the children they brought with them on the war bride ships are being told that they are not Canadian citizens when they apply for passports. Consequently, they have had to apply for their citizenship. Some have been refused or have given up due to the red tape associated with the search for supporting documents of their arrival in Canada.

As a symbolic gesture to recognize the sacrifices made by our brave soldiers, I believe that awarding citizenship on VE Day to the war brides and their children would--

War Brides
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Marcel Proulx)

The hon. member for Battlefords—Lloydminster.

Liberal Party of Canada
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Gerry Ritz Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, Canadians received a little extra time this weekend to file their taxes. Now that they know how their taxes are being thrown around, I doubt they are in any mood to backstop this government.

The Prime Minister went on television to plead for more time, ignoring the fact he has been at it for 12 years. His record of wasted tax dollars on heating rebates to prisoners, job funds that create bankruptcies and using unemployment insurance premiums to finance his out of control spending are clear to everyone.

He complained it was not time for an election, then promptly hit taxpayers with a photo op campaign featuring billion dollar announcements, which will not be any better managed than his last decade.

It is sad to see the same gang over there who spent years failing forestry, fishing and farmers claim they need more time. They cannot come up with workable deals for provinces or cities. They cannot simplify the tax code, shorten hospital waiting times, keep track of pedophiles or take guns away from criminals. We have to conclude the Liberals have a hidden agenda for dealing with priorities that matter to Canadians, but they have run out of time.

World War II
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, as we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II and the liberation of the Netherlands, I join millions of others throughout the world in paying tribute to the courage of these men and women who risked their lives to free others.

Quebec is grateful to the war veterans still with us and those who have since died, to our fallen heroes and the members of their families.

In choosing to defend democracy, peace and freedom, you have set an example of the most noble sacrifice a human being can make. The Bloc Québécois recognizes your selfless contribution and salutes your bravery.

Veterans
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Michael John Savage Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, this past weekend I participated in events honouring the veterans who fought in the Battle of the Atlantic, the longest battle of World War II. I was with heroes, including at a dinner on the HMCS Sackville where I had the honour of sitting with two senior veterans, Earl Wagner, who last year was a Maritimer of the Week, and Murray Knowles. These men and so many others gave so much of themselves at such a young age, young men and women who answered their country's call to protect our freedom and way of life and served in the most difficult of circumstances.

At times words cannot fully express our profound gratitude. Tomorrow though, in the riding of Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, the Royal Canadian Mint will unveil a new circulation coin that will honour VE Day and our veterans. This five cent coin, the replication of the victory nickel, will have special meaning for vets because permission was sought and granted by Her Majesty to replace her effigy with that of King George VI.

I am honoured to be from a military riding and to represent true Canadian heroes whose sacrifices we will never forget.

Justice
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Andrew Scheer Regina—Qu'Appelle, SK

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to express my deep concern with the criminal justice system in our country. Regina has experienced a steady increase in break and enters, car thefts and other violent crimes by habitual, repeat offenders. Because the punishment does not fit the crime, these repeat offenders are given a free pass to reoffend.

My party and I have tried to bring legislation forward to deal with this problem only to be defeated by other parties. NDP-Liberal coalition members have stood up and voted against minimum sentences for repeat offenders. The NDP has even complained that minimum sentences would lead to more trials. I thought that prosecuting criminals was a good thing.

My voters in north central Regina are crying out for the government to give the tools necessary to police officers so they can do their job, keep repeat offenders in jail and clean up drug dealers on our streets. We need more money for front line police officers and less money for a useless gun registry that does nothing to solve crime.

Youth
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Jean-Claude D'Amours Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

Mr. Speaker, since I was elected in June 2004, I have visited many of the schools in my riding. During the recent parliamentary break, I had the opportunity to meet with grade three students at École Régionale de Saint-Basile.

Despite their tender years, these students impressed me a great deal with the quality and relevance of their questions. I am certain that some of these young people are our future leaders and that is why I take advantage of these opportunities to meet with students in our schools.

If the future is being shaped today then it is important to provide our young people with every opportunity to learn more about the workings of our government system and to give them a chance to speak up and ask the questions on their minds.

In closing, I want to thank Anick Grandmaison and her class for their warm welcome.

Bagotville Military Base
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Bouchard Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

Mr. Speaker, this morning, the chief of the air staff, Lieutenant-General Pennie, received an important document on the future of the Bagotville military base, which the Minister of National Defence will receive a little later today.

This document makes important recommendations which, if implemented, will “For a promising Future”, not only maintain personnel but also assure a promising future for the Bagotville base.

I want to congratulate and thank all the members of the retired armed forces personnel committee who helped write this report: Christian Couture, Daniel-René Verreault, Pierre Bettez, René Marion et Michel Aubin.

I congratulate these individuals who have the development of my region at heart. I hope that military and political leaders will recognize the importance of their report and respond in a positive manner.

Toronto Police Service
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Jean Augustine Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate Mr. William Blair on his appointment as Toronto's 20th chief of police.

With almost three decades of service with the Toronto Police Service, Chief Blair is a man of high calibre who will no doubt carry out his duties in a stalwart manner. He is a professional dedicated to bettering our community.

In his maiden speech, Chief Blair addressed some of the pressing issues that faced Toronto's diverse community. I was particularly pleased to hear Chief Blair's emphasis on policing with a community based approach to fight the perception that police treated some individuals differently based on their race. He stated, “There is no greater challenge to our relationship with diverse communities than the corrosive issues of racism and racial bias”.

Solving this overarching disconnect is one of our greatest challenges. I hope through increased community policing that we, as members of the Toronto community, will make our streets and neighbourhoods a safer place to live.

I congratulate and welcome the chief.

Rural Post Offices
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Dave MacKenzie Oxford, ON

Mr. Speaker, in the early years of the 20th century, Oxford farmer George Wilcox led a tireless letter writing campaign in favour of free rural mail delivery. In 1908 his efforts were crowned with success when the first free mail delivery started in Springford, Ontario.

Rural post offices have played an important role since then. They provide a link to the federal government and they also connect residents to the rest of the country.

These rural post offices are now under risk of closure. Many communities will be devastated by the loss of their post office. They do not have the luxury of choosing alternatives.

I urge the government to protect rural post offices. Show some commitment to rural Canadians.

Multiple Sclerosis
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Paddy Torsney Burlington, ON

Mr. Speaker, multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable and at times debilitating disease of the central nervous system which affects Canadians from coast to coast to coast.

Canada has one of the highest rates of MS in the world. Usually diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 40, for unknown reasons women develop the disease more than twice as often as men.

May is Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month. Tomorrow I will be pleased to be kicking off the 29th annual MS carnation campaign. Tomorrow volunteers from the MS Society and I will pin carnations on all MPs as they enter this place to raise awareness of the MS campaign.

This weekend volunteers in over 280 communities across Canada will be selling carnations to raise money for MS research and for services for people with MS. Last year we raised over $1.4 million.

I encourage all hon. members of the House and all Canadians to join me in supporting the MS Society to help make a difference for individuals living with this disease and their families. Tomorrow everyone in the House will be wearing a carnation and raising awareness.

Veterans
Statements By Members

May 3rd, 2005 / 2:10 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, in the eight years that I have been a member of Parliament, I have never in my entire life been so ashamed to be in the same House as the Conservative Party.

The reality is this is a time when we put politics aside and remember our greatest heroes of the country, those people who fought and died for our country. This is the liberation of Holland. As a Dutch-born parliamentarian, I cannot say how ashamed I am of that party over there, playing cheap politics with Canada's greatest heroes. I ask them to put their swords away for a short while so we can honour our veterans in the manner that is dignified to them.

Everything we have in this country we owe to our veterans. The last thing we need to be doing is playing politics. I remind them that this is the year of the veteran, not the year of the politician.

Liberal Party of Canada
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Jeremy Harrison Churchill River, SK

Mr. Speaker, the shocking testimony we have heard so far at the Gomery inquiry is only the tip of the iceberg of what the Liberals across the way have been up to in recent years. The RCMP has launched investigations into allegations of wrongdoing in many of the government's departments. The sheer number of cases would make a detective's head spin.

Let us take, for example, the Department of Citizenship and Immigration. Last year we heard allegations that a Romanian diplomat pulled strings with a Canadian immigration officer at Pearson airport so his exotic dancer daughter could get a rush work visa. What about the former director of Measurement Canada who is facing 11 charges for the fraudulent use of government credit cards to buy hockey memorabilia? We all miss the NHL but this is ridiculous. There have been investigations of the CCRA into confidential personal information on thousands of Canadians which has disappeared into thin air, and the records were not written in invisible ink.

What can we conclude from the likes of these investigations, one might ask? It is elementary, my dear Speaker. The members of this corrupt Liberal government are the last individuals we should trust to get to the bottom of the sponsorship scandal that they themselves created.

The Liberal Government
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, midnight last night was the fateful hour, the deadline for filing our income tax returns.

No doubt, Quebeckers and Canadians took a few moments to wonder what the Liberal government, awash in scandals, will do with our tax dollars. There is the human resources scandal, in which the government wasted nearly $1 billion; the firearms scandal, in which the government ran through nearly $2 billion; and the sponsorship scandal, in which this government used public funds to try to buy the conscience of Quebeckers, while filling the pockets of its cronies who paid it back in spades.

Paying taxes is already hard enough. It is discouraging for taxpayers to see how this government is wasting their money.

Without a doubt, at the stroke of midnight last night, these disturbing facts must have left more than one person angry.