House of Commons Hansard #59 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was code.

Topics

Government Programs
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, 22% of Canadian adults have considerable difficulty reading.

Funding for literacy programs does more than help only these people. We know that the literacy rate of our population is directly linked to the strength of our country's economy.

Yet the minority Conservative government is cutting funding for literacy programs by $17 million, thus jeopardizing the survival of organizations that run those programs.

Despite a surplus of $13 billion, seven major projects launched in Nova Scotia will no longer be funded, and the future of the PEI Literacy Alliance is now at risk. In my own riding, projects such as Tiny Pencils and the Kent dyslexic support committee are at risk. These groups deserve our support and our recognition, not a slap in the face from the Conservatives.

This money is used to help adults who want to help themselves.

I call upon the government to restore these funds immediately.

Liberal Party of Canada
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

Mr. Speaker, as we get closer to Halloween, the Liberals continue to take cheap, partisan shots over qualified appointments, yet they remain haunted by past cronyism. Let us take a moment to remember the ghosts of Liberals past.

As immigration minister, the member for Westmount—Ville-Marie thought it fitting to reappoint her ex-husband to the Immigration and Refugee Board.

The Immigration and Refugee Board had other scary appointments, including the husband of none other than the member for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine.

As justice minister, the member for Mount Royal tried to keep the spirits at bay by making his chief of staff a judge on the federal court.

However, nothing was more frightening than the ghost who hid out in a castle over in Denmark, as the Liberals made the great public works minister, Alfonso Gagliano, the ambassador to Denmark.

As the ghosts of hypocrisy and cronyism continue to haunt Liberals, Canadians must not be scared because Canada's new government is improving the lives of all Canadians.

Justice
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Toronto Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I am advised that yesterday I incorrectly attributed anti-Muslim statements to the chief of staff of the Minister of the Environment. I apologize and totally withdraw those remarks.

The other concerns raised yesterday have been borne out in the news. The government is planning legislation which will effectively destroy protections provided under the Human Rights Act.

Let us be clear. Religious freedom is fully guaranteed in law in Canada. It is in the charter. It is scrupulously protected by our Supreme Court judgments. It was guaranteed in laws passed by Liberal governments.

Since religious freedom is already fully protected, what protections is the Prime Minister presently intending to remove? Is this not just an attempt to remove sexual orientation as a prohibited ground of discrimination in our country and totally against what was already adopted by Parliament?

Justice
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the apology from the Leader of the Opposition. When I heard the quote, I thought it was, at least, out of context. It turns out not to have been said at all. I therefore caution the Leader of the Opposition in engaging in speculation in his next question. The government has no plans at all along the lines that he has suggested.

Justice
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Toronto Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I totally accept what the Prime Minister said.

I ask him then to engage on the floor of the House, since this is an opportunity to deal with that, not to engage in a smokescreen, not to let his political calculations trump his responsibility to uphold human rights and assure the House that he is not preparing legislation which has the intent to drive a horse and cart through the protections for Canadian citizens, who may be gay and lesbian, and that are provided for in the Canadian Human Rights Act, the charter and other provisions of Canadian law.

Justice
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. Leader of the Opposition knows, I have been clear for some time that the government will bring forward a motion for debate and for a free vote this fall. Beyond that, the hon. Leader of the Opposition is worried about the charter. Let me read the following quote to him:

Pierre Trudeau believed the Charter of Rights and Freedoms would bring us together. Yet the results haven't worked out that way.

I take that quote from the front runner for the leadership of the Liberal Party of Canada.

Justice
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Toronto Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, perhaps the Prime Minister would like to answer the charges and comments made this morning in the newspapers, telling us that the Prime Minister is considering a bill that would allow discrimination when some Canadians try to do business with companies?

Can the Prime Minister tell us whether gays and lesbians will be the only victims of this obvious discrimination or are there other groups in our society that the government will be considering later?

Justice
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I will say it again. Rather than engage in unfounded speculation about what this government is proposing, the Leader of the Opposition should be worrying about the positions taken by the next leader of his party.

Justice
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, for several days we have seen that the government is not serious about protecting minorities: the President of the Treasury Board is cancelling the court challenges program; the Minister of Justice is bent on prolonging the debate over same-sex marriage; and the Minister of Economic Development of Canada is using his discretion to deny the gay community of Montreal grant funding.

Has the Prime Minister given his ministers the order that no government program is to support the gay and lesbian community?

Justice
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma
Québec

Conservative

Jean-Pierre Blackburn Minister of Labour and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec

Mr. Speaker, I believe that Canadians are entitled to know that 70% of the Economic Development Canada budget envelope, which amounts to about $200 million, is going to various non-profit organizations in the province of Quebec. That being said, when an application is submitted to me, it is analyzed based on quality and merit.

In this case, the Black & Blue Festival was asking us for $55,000. I looked at all of the partners and we came to the conclusion that our contribution was not essential for the event to be held. We were not mistaken, given that the event is taking place.

Justice
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, Economic Development Canada should analyze a festival’s application for assistance based on the economic impact that the event will have in its region. The assistance requested was for international promotion. It is a proven fact that the gay Black & Blue Festival will produce economic benefits for Montreal worth $25 million. The minister denied their application for funding.

What should we take from this? Did the minister’s personal opinions outweigh economic development in Montreal?

Justice
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma
Québec

Conservative

Jean-Pierre Blackburn Minister of Labour and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec

Mr. Speaker, my responsibility as minister is to look at all of the applications, to cast an eye over them, and to consider the value of each of them. We decided that the $55,000 we were being asked to provide for marketing was not essential for the event to be held. We thought that it would be able to go on regardless, and we were not mistaken.

That being said, if we want to talk about homophobia, how is it that this same minister said yes when the First World Outgames were held and he was asked to advance the funds earlier to help them out? How is it that we gave $100,000 for the Divers/Cité event held alongside the Outgames?

Government Appointments
Oral Questions

October 4th, 2006 / 2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is becoming more and more obvious that the government is making decisions solely on the basis of ideological reasons. Again, yesterday, we learned that the Minister of the Environment has appointed Darrel Reid as her chief of staff, a man who has expressed offensive remarks regarding gays and lesbians, as well as denying that there is a problem with climate change. In addition, Mr. Reid has made questionable statements about the morality of Quebeckers.

How can the Prime Minister explain his Minister of the Environment’s appointment of a person with such controversial views to a key position in her office?

Government Appointments
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Reid has personal views on questions such as marriage. The leader of the Bloc has known for a long time that it is the government’s intention to hold a debate in which members can vote freely and express their views on these questions.

Government Programs
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, those views and remarks are offensive, that is why the prime minister kept them hidden during the election campaign.

Despite contrary advice from his officials, the Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec has refused to renew funding for the Black & Blue Festival, an event that generates $25 million in economic benefits. By way of explanation, one of the minister’s political advisers said that the minister prefers to provide funding for family-oriented events.

Can the prime minister explain to us when the ideological values of his government became the criteria for awarding grants to public events?