House of Commons Hansard #92 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was debate.

Topics

2 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

It being Wednesday, we will now have the singing of the national anthem led by the hon. member for Sackville—Eastern Shore.

[Members sang the national anthem]

The Environment
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Larry Miller Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to congratulate the staff and council of the County of Grey on the outstanding initiatives they are taking to improve the environment.

This month the council approved a pilot project for local biodiesel production that involves an Owen Sound processor and a group of area canola farmers led by Meaford farmer Brian Wiley. County highways chief Gary Shaw will use locally produced biodiesel fuel in the fleet, which will be provided by local producer Greg Lougheed of Lougheed fuels. The company's is the first 100% biodiesel filling station in Canada.

This is not the first time that Gary Shaw and the County of Grey have been leaders in environmental issues. In 1991, the County of Grey, under the direction of Mr. Shaw, was the very first to use recycled tires to pave roads.

This government is doing its part for the environment with the clean air act and Gary Shaw and the County of Grey are doing their part. Together we will improve our environment.

Violence Against Women
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Maria Minna Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, today is the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, a date to remember the 14 women brutally murdered at l'École Polytechnique de Montréal in 1989. They were killed simply because they were women.

This is a day of remembrance and action not only for those 14 young women, but also for the thousands of Canadian women facing discrimination and violence throughout this country.

A 2006 report from Statistics Canada entitled “Women in Canada 2006” states that common assaults make up the largest share of violent offences committed against women. In 2004, 53% of all women who were victims of violent offences were victims of a common assault, while the rest were victims of sexual assault, assault with a weapon causing bodily harm, criminal harassment and robbery. Women are considerably more likely than men to be victims of violent crimes and six times more likely to be victims of sexual assault.

We as Canadians and as women must stand together to stop this and say, “No more”.

Replacement Workers
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Carole Lavallée Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, in 1990, the Minister of Labour and member for Jonquière—Alma voted in favour of an anti-scab bill. Now that he is a Conservative minister, not only is he against this excellent piece of legislation, but also, yesterday in committee, he predicted every possible calamity: ruin, economic chaos, total paralysis and even 911 service interruptions.

It appears the minister has joined the fearmongering campaign being waged by the big and powerful business lobby and, in his state of extreme terror, is even confusing provincial and federal jurisdiction. The Minister of Labour should know that the 911 service is under provincial jurisdiction, that in Quebec, 911 employees have been subject to an anti-scab law for the past 30 years, and that this has never resulted in a catastrophe.

Quebec's experience with anti-scab legislation has shown that disputes do not last as long, that they are less violent, and that there is a better balance of power between employers and employees. It is good for workers and it is good for employers.

Violence Against Women
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Dawn Black New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, today is the 17th anniversary of the horrible massacre at the École Polytechnique in Montreal.

Parliament has declared this a day to honour the 14 young women who were killed and who will never again meet with friends, never laugh and never cry, young women who dreamed their dreams, shared their hopes and aspirations and worked toward achieving their goals, young women who loved and were loved. They were killed simply because they were women.

In every region of Canada, women and men are gathering to remember all victims of violence against women, to share their grief and to gain strength from one another, and they are taking action. They are resolving to change our society to ensure that women and girls walk safely in our streets, that we live securely in our homes and that we may participate fully in society as equal partners. Women and men working together will bring positive change to our society.

We remember. We do remember. Who among us could ever forget?

From an Island to an Island
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Fabian Manning Avalon, NL

Mr. Speaker, today I want to pay tribute to one of Newfoundland and Labrador's greatest ambassadors, award winning recording artist Mr. Kevin Collins.

Born in Placentia, Kevin began singing at the age of six, having been influenced by a musical family, including his grandmother, Agnes Tobin Collins, and his dad, Tony Collins. Kevin has released 12 albums and has won several music industry awards, including songwriter of the year award in Ireland.

Kevin has recorded a song composed by our own current federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and entitled From An Island To An Island, describing the strong connection between Ireland and Newfoundland. It has become one of our province's signature songs and became an instant success in Ireland.

Kevin has toured Canada and Ireland and his music is currently played on radio stations all across Europe. Kevin Collins continues to live by his motto, “Newfoundland is a place where hospitality and friendship are not a business, but rather a way of life”.

We extend congratulations to Kevin and wish him the best of luck in the future. He makes all of us proud.

Status of Women
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Simms Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor, NL

Mr. Speaker, I too would like to reiterate the comments of my hon. colleague from Avalon in congratulating Mr. Collins.

This year women in Canada should be celebrating the 25th anniversary of Canada's ratification of the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, but they are not celebrating.

The federal government has made alarming changes to Status of Women Canada, including a 40% cut to its operating budget. It has also removed the word “equality” and changed the funding rules to ban all domestic advocacy and lobbying.

Women in my province will be negatively impacted by these changes. For example, the Status of Women council's multi-phase research project to alleviate poverty will no longer qualify under the new funding regime. The voices of equality-seeking women's groups that work to improve our collective quality of life will now be weakened.

The Prime Minister said he would respect and uphold Canada's commitment to women's rights, but he has not kept his word.

When will the government honour these principles? Shame on the government. It should do the right thing and reinstate funding to permit the women of Canada to have a voice.

Halifax Explosion
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Gerald Keddy South Shore—St. Margaret's, NS

Mr. Speaker, 89 years ago today, on December 6, 1917, two ships, the Imo and the Mont Blanc, carrying explosives and supplies for the war in Europe, collided in the narrows of Halifax harbour, caught fire and exploded.

In less than 10 seconds, the explosion and ensuing tidal wave had killed 2,000 people and seriously injured 9,000 more. For two square kilometres around Pier 6, nothing was left standing.

It was the largest man-made explosion prior to the atomic bomb and, to make matters worse, that evening a severe snowstorm swept Halifax, further hindering the relief effort.

Nova Scotians and Haligonians will never forget that the first relief train to reach Halifax was sent from Boston in the United States. To recognize that fact, every year Nova Scotia sends to Boston a Christmas tree that is 40 feet high. Once again I would like to recognize that this tree was cut in New Ross. I would like to thank Alan and Antoinette Broome for cutting this tree. I also thank the people from Boston for being neighbours in a time of need.

Maria Chapdelaine Regional Women's Centre
Statements By Members

December 6th, 2006 / 2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Maria Chapdelaine regional women's centre in Lac-St-Jean is very concerned about this government's constant attacks on women.

With its budget cuts and its refusal to implement pay equity recommendations, this government has done nothing to represent women's interests.

We will have a better society once we have progressive, open governments committed to fighting male-female inequality. Unfortunately, that description does not apply to a significant segment of the Conservative Party and the government it has spawned.

I would like to tell the Maria Chapdelaine regional women's centre that I will always stand up for the basic right to male-female equality and that I will, whenever necessary, intervene against the government no matter the circumstances.

Violence against Women
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Luc Harvey Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, it was on this day that the lives of 14 young women ended in tragedy at the École Polytechnique in Montreal. On this National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, established in 1991, Canadians everywhere are asked to remember these young women, and we are also called to action.

As we all know, too many Canadian women and girls are victims of violence every day of their lives. This is unacceptable.

The government has taken steps against this phenomenon. Specifically, it has strengthened our judicial system and supported initiatives such as Sisters in Spirit, a campaign to end violence against aboriginal women.

However, as we know, we are all in this struggle together. Today's commemoration presents an opportunity for us to think, individually and collectively, about concrete measures we can take to prevent and eliminate violence against women and girls. Let us strive to build a Canada in which our daughters, our mothers and our sisters can live without ever fearing violence.

Violence Against Women
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Susan Kadis Thornhill, ON

Mr. Speaker, today as we observe the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, lamenting the 1989 tragic and unthinkable shootings at École Polytechnique, we must stand strong together in Parliament, all of us, condemning violence against women and pledging to keep our women safe.

As this is a pervasive, urgent crisis for women and their families, it is inconceivable that the current government short-sightedly cut Status of Women Canada's policy and research fund, which provided vital information and direction on preventing violence against women.

Simply put, women and their families cannot afford to bear the brunt of these cuts. Rather, we need to use every opportunity to do more, much more, not less, to eradicate violence against women, including increasing funding, not decreasing it.

As we reflect on that dark day in 1989, we must honour the victims truly and do everything in our power to prevent even one more woman from becoming a victim. Women at risk are relying on all of us. We cannot fail them.

L'École Polytechnique
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Helena Guergis Simcoe—Grey, ON

Mr. Speaker, today marks the anniversary of the murders of 14 young women at l'École Polytechnique de Montréal.

Established in 1991 as the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, today Canadians everywhere are called to remember those young women and we are also called to action. We know that far too many women and girls in Canada face violence each and every day of their lives and this is unacceptable.

Canada's new government has taken steps, such as strengthening our justice system and supporting initiatives like Sisters in Spirit which seeks to end violence against aboriginal women, but we know that combating violence must be a collective effort.

Today's commemoration serves as a time for all Canadians to reflect on the concrete actions we must take, individually and collectively, to prevent and eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls.

Let us work toward creating a Canada where our daughters, mothers and sisters can live free from fear of violence.

L'École Polytechnique
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Catherine Bell Vancouver Island North, BC

Mr. Speaker, today we remember and mourn the 14 women killed in Montreal, women who have been murdered by their domestic partners and girls who have been violently killed.

Violence against women is still all too prevalent, stemming directly from women's inequality.

I and the women of Vancouver Island North also mourn cuts to services from Status of Women Canada. These are cuts women cannot afford. These cuts mean women of the Pacific DisAbled Women's Network headquartered in my riding will now have to travel not to Victoria or Vancouver but to Edmonton in order to consult with staff in the department. Not all women in Vancouver Island North live in equality. Their basic rights are not guaranteed, particularly if they are aboriginal women.

The NDP, along with the Canadian Labour Congress, believes that $2 for every woman and girl in Canada should be allocated for women's equality. It is not too much to ask for women who live in poverty, who live in fear or who need more, not less, from the government.

École polytechnique
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Diane Marleau Sudbury, ON

Mr. Speaker, we are taking a moment today to remember the terrible massacre of 14 young women 17 years ago at the École Polytechnique in Montreal.

Despite our efforts to curb violence against women, it continues to be a serious, persistent problem.

We have a Conservative government that is slashing status of women programs. The minister responsible told us herself that she cut some of the funding because, after all, the funds were mostly used for telephone systems. As though such systems are not needed. Why not ask abused women? They need access to a telephone line.

Now is an appropriate time for this Conservative government to reflect on, think about, remember and act by reversing those shameful cuts.

École Polytechnique
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Johanne Deschamps Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, December 6, 1989 is a date that will remain etched in our collective memory. Seventeen years ago today, an armed man entered Montreal's École polytechnique and took the lives of 14 young women. Quebeckers were shocked and devastated by what happened.

After that incident, December 6 was named the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, a day for remembrance and reflection.

According to the United Nations Population Fund, “Gender-based violence is perhaps the most widespread and socially tolerated of human rights violations”. Such violence affects the lives of millions of women and girls and, as one writer in Livre noir de la condition féminine or The Black Book of Women’s Condition, states, “Women are always the first victims of bullying, insecurity, conjugal violence, prostitution, criminality, unemployment and sexism”.

The Bloc Québécois will continue to work to eliminate all forms of violence against women, because freeing women from violence means a more civilized world.