House of Commons Hansard #124 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was marriage.

Topics

Citizenship and Immigration
Oral Question Period

June 28th, 2005 / 2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Catterall Ottawa West—Nepean, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. For nearly a year Syria kept my constituent Maher Arar in prison and subjected him to terrible treatment, in total violation of Mr. Arar's rights as a Canadian citizen. Now the daughter-in-law of the former head of Syria's internal intelligence force, involved in denying Mr. Arar his rights, has a visitor's visa so her child can be born a Canadian citizen.

This is outrageous. I demand that the minister exercise his discretion and immediately revoke this visa.

Citizenship and Immigration
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence
Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, I do not want to make a connection between the former unfortunate situation and this one. I will not comment on a specific case except to say what I have done already.

I have instructed my department to examine the procedures that are in place in such similar situations so as to avoid any perceptions like the ones that have been raised.

Copyright Legislation
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Conservative

Bev Oda Clarington—Scugog—Uxbridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canada has a world-class Internet infrastructure in our schools, but the heritage minister's new copyright legislation makes it restrictive, onerous and possibly more costly for schools, teachers and students to download online educational material.

The legislation will make routine classroom activities illegal. Why do the government and the minister want to make our students and teachers pay more for materials they are using now or make them criminals under a new copyright law?

Copyright Legislation
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Jeanne-Le Ber
Québec

Liberal

Liza Frulla Minister of Canadian Heritage and Minister responsible for Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, the hon. opposition member knows very well that we promised to table the copyright law in June, which we did. We also said that as far as the education matter was concerned, we would study it and focus on it solely after second reading of the bill. We will study the education matter because it does not have consensus.

Children can be in school, but once they become researchers and authors, they also need to have their copyrights reserved and paid for.

Points of Order
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Conservative

Cheryl Gallant Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. On June 20 the Minister of National Defence, in responding to a question from the member for Acadie—Bathurst, said the following, I quote from

Hansard:

We are, of course, concerned with the case of agent orange which, as I have said, was sprayed seven days a week for two years over Gagetown land. We will continue all our investigations on all our bases to determine whether other agents have been used.

On Tuesday, June 21 the assistant deputy minister for infrastructure and environment in the Department of National Defence, Karen Ellis, during sworn testimony before the Standing Committee on National Defence and Veterans Affairs, contradicted the minister when she stated that in the case of agent orange and agent purple, three days in June 1966 and four days in July 1967 were the only days and, to the best of the department's knowledge, were the only times cooperative defoliant testing was to have occurred.

This statement directly contradicts the information the minister gave the House on June 20 when the minister told the member for Acadie—Bathurst that agent orange was sprayed seven days a week for two years at CFB Gagetown and that the use of the rainbow herbicides, such as agents orange and purple, was being investigated on all military bases.

As a consequence of the conflicting statements coming from the Department of National Defence regarding chemical weapons testing, I invite the Minister of National Defence to either correct the record in the House of Commons or correct the comments of his public servant regarding the use of chemical defoliants and desiccants on or near Canadian military bases.

Points of Order
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Toronto Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I did not quite digest entirely everything the hon. member had to say, but I understood the thrust of her comment to be that there was confusion between what I had said in the House and what Ms. Ellis, who was the assistant deputy minister, had said to the committee. She said that agent orange and agent purple, which is a matter of concern before the House, were sprayed on a limited area in Gagetown in 1967 and 1966 over a total period of seven days, three days in one year and four days in the other year.

I have tried my best to make the House understand that. If the hon. member has not understood that and chosen to interpret that as seven days a week for two years, I am sorry for her. I have tried to make it very clear to the House and it is consistent with what the assistant deputy minister said, that this was a matter of seven days total spraying over two years in a limited area of Gagetown.

We are working with all those concerned to find out the facts so we can get the proper response to this terrible problem. We will ensure we do that, but let us get the facts straight first. That is all I ask of the House, that we get the facts.

Points of Order
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

Greg Thompson St. Croix—Belleisle, NB

Mr. Speaker, on that same point of order, the minister is inconsistent in the testimony that he provides compared to the testimony that we heard at committee and what the people in Gagetown heard in the community when DND took their travelling road show to Base Gagetown.

The point I simply want to make is this. When the Minister of National Defence talks about a limited test area, he fails to mention the broader spray program of those years where they used agent orange and agent purple over 4,000 acres and hundreds of gallons of the defoliant in those same years that he selectively refers to as the test period.

I believe the member is correct in the sense that the minister is operating on information which is inconsistent with the documents that his department has provided and it inconsistent with the evidence that we heard at committee by some of his officials.

Points of Order
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Toronto Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, this has now become a matter of debate, but I would like to respectfully suggest to the hon. members and to the House that if we can have debate with some civil conduct with one another, I would be happy to look into this and I will get back to the hon. members with the facts.

My understanding, as I said to the House, is that there was no suggestion of any spraying of agent orange over 4,000 acres. That is not testimony that I have ever heard before.

I will consult with my officials and I will correspond with the hon. members to exact facts about what I have said and what has been said by my deputy minister to ensure that the facts are entirely clear. We will do our best to get--

Points of Order
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

The Speaker

I think we have heard enough on this. Is the hon. member for Acadie—Bathurst rising on the same point of order?

Apparently, the hon. member wishes to rise on a different point of order.

Points of Order
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, I rise on this same point of order. It also concerns the question I had raised in the House about the importance of public health and safety. For years, we have been calling for the Department of National Defence to decontaminate the Tracadie-Sheila military training area, and so far, only a surface decontamination has been done. This is contradictory. We want the minister to mandate an independent group to conduct a study and fully decontaminate this military training area once and for all.

Points of Order
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

The Speaker

That is interesting, but it concerns another matter and is not a point of order. The problem before us concerns a contradiction of facts, obviously. The hon. member for Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke has pointed out two quotations that may be contradictory.

We have heard clarification on the matter. The minister said he will clarify any other issues that are raised on it. I am sure if the hon. member for Acadie--Bathurst has continuing problems, he will be able to correspond with the minister directly. We are not going to keep doing question period under the guise of points of order. That is unheard of.

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-38, an act respecting certain aspects of legal capacity for marriage for civil purposes, be read the third time and passed, and of the amendment.

Civil Marriage Act
Government Orders

3:05 p.m.

The Speaker

Before oral question period, the hon. member for Hochelaga—Maisonneuve had the floor. He has two minutes left to finish his speech.

The hon. member for Burnaby—Douglas.

Civil Marriage Act
Government Orders

3:05 p.m.

NDP

Bill Siksay Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate the member for Hochelaga on his speech, which was a very important addition to the debate on this bill.

With his usual modesty, he undersold his importance in the various aspects of the improvement in the human rights situation for gay and lesbian people over his many years of service in the House. He mentioned that he had been present in the House while many changes had been made. He very much underplayed his own part in making those changes happen. He has played an important part in ensuring that gay and lesbian people assume full citizenship here in Canada and in Quebec. I want to recognize the contribution he has made over his many years here and tell him how important it has been to all of us in the gay and lesbian community.

I also want to thank him for mentioning the contributions of my predecessor, Svend Robinson, to those debates and to his other colleagues from Quebec in the whole move toward full equality and full citizenship for gay and lesbian people.

It has been a cooperative effort by many people, but I do not want the member for Hochelaga to underestimate the importance he has brought to this debate in the House.

The member will remember from the committee hearings that we heard from the Canadian Psychological Association. One of the things the association said was that the stigma and isolation that gay and lesbian families may experience as a result of public and systemic prejudice and discrimination may cause distress and that was a far more important factor in the stability and the adjustment of children in those families than was the fact that their parents were gay and lesbian, which seemed to have no effect whatsoever on the children.

I wonder if he could comment on the importance of Bill C-38 in light of that assertion by the Canadian Psychological Association.

Civil Marriage Act
Government Orders

3:10 p.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for his kind words. I remember quite well when the Canadian Psychological Association appeared before the committee and said that there was no correlation between sexual orientation and parenting skills.

It was also made very clear how important it is to quell any type of stigma in the process of building self-esteem, what psychologists call psychogenesis. All the members voting in favour of the bill we are discussing this afternoon are contributing to making homosexuality respectable. In so doing, we are saying that gays and lesbians are full citizens. That is the historic dimension of tonight's vote.