House of Commons Hansard #83 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was care.

Topics

Government Policies
Statements by Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, not satisfied with being a laughingstock at the World AIDS Conference, the Conservative government showed, yet again, its lack of compassion at the first nations socio-economic forum in Mashteuiatsh in October.

The empty chair policy seems to be coming all too common with this government. In August, the Prime Minister did not attend the World AIDS Conference and then it was the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development's turn to leave the Mashteuiatsh forum before the issue of social housing was ever discussed.

Lack of housing and a shortage of clean drinking water are third world problems that many first nations communities in Quebec are still experiencing.

I want to remind this government that it still has not announced anything about housing for aboriginals living on reserve, nor any concrete measures to halt the spread of the AIDS virus. The Bloc Québécois interprets this government's indifference as a blatant lack of compassion toward aboriginals and AIDS sufferers.

Softwood Lumber
Statements by Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, in yet another reaction to the softwood lumber sellout, Western Forest Products, which employed nearly 300 people, is closing its Queensborough mill in New Westminster, B.C. The closing of the mill, which has been in operation since 1914, deals a devastating blow to another softwood community.

With the help of the Liberal Party, the government and its intellectually malnourished Minister of International Trade are ramming down the throats of Canadians a badly negotiated, poorly drafted and punitive softwood agreement. The sellout promotes raw log exports to the U.S. rather than jobs in Canada.

We saw 2,500 jobs lost in just one week after the accord was signed and there have been 4,000 in the last month. As a result of the softwood sellout, we have seen jobs lost across British Columbia, in Alberta, in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, and in northern Ontario and Quebec.

Not one Conservative has spoken out against this. Only one political party is fighting this sellout and the giveaway of Canadian jobs and over $1 billion. Only the NDP is standing up for Canada and Canadian softwood jobs.

Tourism
Statements by Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Bruce Stanton Simcoe North, ON

Mr. Speaker, today we have representatives of the tourism industry here on Parliament Hill meeting with members of all political parties. As someone who has earned a living in this industry, I can certainly vouch for the importance of their message. Tourism accounts for 2.1% of our GDP. It employs 1.6 million Canadians, about 10% of our national workforce.

About 80% of tourism businesses are small and medium size enterprises. I am sure every member of the House knows of a lodging business, a transport company, or a natural and cultural or historical attraction bringing many visitors to their riding.

Canada is part of a global tourism industry, with new and exciting destinations coming online each year. That is why it is important to maintain and hopefully grow Canada's share of the tourism trade, just like Canada's other important export industries.

I ask all hon. members to join me in welcoming the women and men who showcase this beautiful country the world over, Canada's tourism industry.

Government Policies
Statements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Raymond Chan Richmond, BC

Mr. Speaker, my constituents in Richmond have many questions for this incapable, untrustworthy, meanspirited, neo-conservative government.

Why did the Conservatives break their promises to Canadians by giving up $1 billion in the softwood lumber agreement to our American competitors; by not conducting a review on the leaky condo crisis in B.C.; by proposing an accountability act that will make the government less accountable; by allowing so many Conservatives to go through the revolving doors to become lobbyists; and by lying about the taxation of income trusts and costing Canadians $25 billion in two days?

Particularly, why are they so meanspirited as to cut a billion dollars' worth of social programs when they inherited a $13 billion surplus from the Liberal government?

Last, why are they now attacking the independence of Canada's judiciary?

Cardiovascular Health
Statements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Merrifield Yellowhead, AB

Mr. Speaker, getting a regular health assessment plays an important role in disease prevention.

Today the Canadian Medical Association is hosting a cardiovascular risk assessment booth, where members of Parliament and their staff can chart their 10 year risk of cardiovascular disease. They can also discover their cardiovascular age, calculate their body mass index, and find out their cholesterol level.

I know that due to our busy schedules members of Parliament sometimes neglect their own health, but knowledge is the key to health and our future health is largely determined by taking such preventive action and getting regular health assessments.

The cardiovascular risk assessment booth will be open from 8 a.m. to 12 noon and again from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. today in room 200, West Block. The examination is very quick and results are available in 10 minutes. I encourage all members of Parliament and their staff to take the time to get an assessment. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Aboriginals Affairs
Statements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Marc Lemay Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, today is the 10th anniversary of the tabling of the report by the Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, the Erasmus-Dussault report.

It has been a decade already since important recommendations to establish a justice-based relationship between aboriginals and non-aboriginals were made public. Unfortunately, since then they have been set aside by the successive governments here in Ottawa.

It took five years of work and consultations to produce a report of more than 4,000 pages with 400 recommendations. The report proposed a 20-year program of concrete solutions to problems that are difficult to solve.

The Bloc Québécois strongly believes that aboriginals have to be able to function again as a nation. I call on the government to show some respect for the first nations by going back to the Erasmus-Dussault report and implementing its key recommendations.

Prevention of Genocide
Statements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Harold Albrecht Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour of introducing an All Party Parliamentary Group for the Prevention of Genocide and other Crimes Against Humanity.

Unfortunately, this issue continues to plague mankind even today.

I am proud to serve on the interim executive of the group. The group aims to bring information to parliamentarians of all political parties and provide an opportunity to discuss ways of preventing these horrors from occurring.

I urge all members of the House to attend a special reception tonight in the parliamentary restaurant, where they can meet Mr. Juan Mendez. Mr. Mendez is the United Nations Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide. We are honoured to have him join us today.

Crimes against humanity do not recognize partisanship. I would urge members of all parties to attend tonight, meet Mr. Mendez and learn more about what role they can play.

Government Policies
Statements by Members

November 21st, 2006 / 2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, we can say two things about the recent Conservative cuts to programs. First, they are dumb, and second, they are mean, particularly the cuts to the summer career placement program, an initiative that has employed hundreds of thousands of students and has provided huge benefits to organizations working toward the betterment of our communities.

In my community, these grants support child care centres, boys and girls clubs and youth recreation and help charities, seniors and other groups. Every one of those groups is a non-profit organization.

The government's announcement of cuts to this program is indefensible. No one has been given a coherent explanation for why the federal government, awash in money, would make these cuts.

Any cut to student employment is very troubling. I spend a lot of time with student leaders at our universities and colleges and with not for profit organizations trying to build a better Canada. At a time of increased tuition, a summer job is critical to making it to university and college. These unnecessary cuts mean that students will miss out on the opportunity to attend college or university and they also will hurt communities.

These cuts are a lose-lose proposition. They are ill conceived and damaging, both to students and our communities, and they must be reversed.

Donald Vézina
Statements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Steven Blaney Lévis—Bellechasse, QC

Mr. Speaker, during a large and moving family celebration in Saint-Michel-de-Bellechasse on November 11, I had the honour of awarding the Canadian Peacekeeping Service Medal to Donald Vézina.

Donald Vézina worked on a United Nations peacekeeping mission as a member of the 22nd Regiment. Mr. Vézina completed two tours of duty in Cyprus during Canada's 29-year mission, leaving behind his wife and children. He is the son of Léo-Dominique Vézina, a World War II aviator in the 425 Tactical Fighter Squadron, “Les Alouettes”, who gave his life for our country.

That same day, his sister, Sylvie, launched a book entitled Le dernier vol de l'Alouette in memory of their father. She was very young when her father died, and she retraced the epic story of this true Canadian hero by collecting stories from members of his family and consulting the National Archives of Canada.

Today, I would like to applaud the courage of the great Vézina family of Bellechasse that showed solidarity in the face of Canada's greatest military and humanitarian challenges and that reminds us that people from close to home gave their lives to protect our freedoms and our rights.

Musical Craftsmanship
Statements by Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Tony Martin Sault Ste. Marie, ON

Mr. Speaker, Raymond Schryer of Sault Ste. Marie is a fine fiddle player and an internationally acclaimed violin maker.

Raymond has just returned from the biennial instrument making competition in Baltimore for the Violin Society of America, where he won two silver medals for violin and viola. He received the highest marks given for workmanship, competing with over 300 violins and viola entered from around the globe.

Raymond is passionate about violins and has turned his love for music into making some of the finest musical instruments in the world. The dream of designing his own workshop became a reality for Raymond when he renovated the town hall in Hilton Beach and subsequently a heritage building on the St. Mary's River in Sault Ste. Marie.

He has become a leader in his field, having been recognized with international gold medal wins. The pinnacle of his career to date is the gold medal win for cello in October 2003 in Italy.

I ask the House today to salute Raymond as a recognized leader and innovator in his field.

Prevention of Genocide
Statements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Keith Martin Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to notify this House of the formation of an All Party Coalition for the Prevention of Genocide, composed of members from all parties and both Houses.

Its intent is to provide information to the House on existing and developing humanitarian catastrophes. To help inaugurate this, we have Juan Mendez, the special adviser to the Secretary-General of the UN, here in Ottawa today.

The necessity for this group is the fact that the world has not learned the hard lessons from Rwanda and the Holocaust. Today the carnage in Darfur continues in unimaginable ways. In eastern Congo, 20,000 people a month are dying of preventable causes. In northern Uganda, the Acholi people have been herded, and they are being asphyxiated of their basic needs.

Catastrophes are occurring. The Prime Minister said he would not allow these catastrophes to occur on his watch. We ask the Prime Minister to act now, act quickly and save lives.

Pierre Gemayel
Statements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Maria Mourani Ahuntsic, QC

Mr. Speaker, we recently learned of the assassination of Lebanese cabinet minister Pierre Gemayel. The son of Amin Gemayel—former Lebanese president—and the nephew of Bashir Gemayel, who was also assassinated, Pierre Gemayel was elected in 2000 and again in 2005. He became Minister of Industry in July 2005.

Pierre Gemayel participated in the Cedar Revolution following the assassination of Rafik Hariri. Since then he and other Lebanese parliamentarians have fought fiercely for their country's sovereignty.

The Bloc Québécois condemns this terrible act and urges the Canadian government to support Lebanese authorities in advancing the Lebanese national dialogue.

This assassination is another assault on Lebanon's fragile peace and democracy.

The Bloc Québécois offers its condolences to the Lebanese community, the Phalange party and the Lebanese diaspora. He will be missed.

George Blackburn
Statements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Nepean—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today, humbled, saddened and honoured, to speak of George Blackburn, a retired World War II veteran, artillery officer, Military Cross winner, dedicated public servant, reporter, author, director, and loving husband, father, grandfather and even great-grandfather. This great Canadian passed away peacefully in his 90th year last week right here in Ottawa.

Mr. Blackburn was born in the town of Wales, Ontario, a village cleared to make way for the St. Lawrence Seaway. The project was commemorated in one of his musical plays, A Day to Remember.

He was best known publicly for his World War II book trilogy, The Guns of Normandy, which brought him the 1996 Ottawa Citizen Book of the Year Award.

He will be remembered. We extend to him all the honour of this House. May God bless his soul.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Toronto Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, 18 years ago, you and other members were elected to the House of Commons. We congratulate you and we congratulate our colleagues of that class. I myself missed that class by 60 votes. It was a little bit like one of your privilege motions, Mr. Speaker; we never know which way it is going to go until it is too late. We are glad that you are here and we congratulate you and the other members of the House.

Mr. Speaker, when the Prime Minister travels the world on our behalf, Canadians have the right to know what is going on. Citizens have the right to be informed by a free press, but the Prime Minister tries to manipulate the press. On his trip to Asia he deliberately kept the press in the dark unless it suited his purposes. He refused to tell the press about meetings and actions.

How can the Prime Minister be so boastful about lecturing China and the world on human rights when he plays games with the right of Canadian citizens to be fully informed by our free press?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, let me share my congratulations as well with you on the 18th anniversary of your election. I was also unsuccessful in that particular election; I am glad we find something we can agree on.

Of course when I travelled there were various formal meetings that I had. There were photo ops before those formal meetings, meetings with the press before those. I gave a press conference at the end of the meetings and of course I also informed the press about any informal meetings that took place.