House of Commons Hansard #3 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was speech.

Topics

Agriculture
Statements By Members

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Bouchard Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

Mr. Speaker, some one hundred farmers came to Parliament Hill today from the Saguenay--Lac-St-Jean region to protest the Conservative government's inaction in the farm income crisis and in the case of supply management.

The decision by the Federal Court of Appeal to open the door to imports of milk protein concentrate will no doubt mean a significant loss of markets for dairy producers. This in turn will threaten thousands of jobs, not only in the Saguenay--Lac-St-Jean region, but throughout Quebec. I would remind you that Quebec produces nearly 40% of Canada's milk.

The riding of Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, like the entire Saguenay--Lac-St-Jean region, has already been hit hard by the softwood lumber crisis and by plant closures.

I urge the federal government to act quickly to avoid another crisis that could hurt thousands of farm producers and their families.

Robert Costall
Statements By Members

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Ken Boshcoff Thunder Bay—Rainy River, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to Private Robert Costall who was killed in combat in Afghanistan last week.

Private Costall was born in Thunder Bay and moved with his family to Gibsons Landing, British Columbia at the age of seven. At age 19 he returned to Thunder Bay to live with his grandmother. Shortly thereafter he visited the Canadian Forces recruiting office to offer himself for military service.

When Private Costall was called to serve Canada, he found himself in a foreign land of chaos and despair. His duty was to help the besieged people of Afghanistan in their quest to realize the comfort, safety and freedom that he himself had been blessed with.

He died in the grandest of causes for the simplest of things: the ability to live without fear and without desolation. He died to help the Afghani people to be able to live in peace.

For his courage and dedication, we offer our thanks. We pray, along with his wife, child and other family members, that he will rest in peace.

Cornwall Collegiate and Vocational School
Statements By Members

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

Guy Lauzon Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry, ON

Mr. Speaker, this year the Cornwall Collegiate and Vocational School in my riding of Stormont--Dundas--South Glengarry will celebrate 200 years of providing quality education to the youth of the Cornwall area, making it the longest serving high school in Upper Canada.

To mark this monumental achievement, CCVS will host a reunion from Friday, June 30 to Sunday, July 2, 2006. As a former student of CCVS myself, I am proud to attend this event. I invite all alumni of CCVS to attend, to volunteer and to spread the word to former classmates and faculty. Registration can be done online at www.ccvs200.ca or phone 613-932-8360.

I look forward to getting together with friends old and new to celebrate Ontario's 200 years of public primary and secondary education. I am proud that it all started in Cornwall.

Agriculture
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Toronto Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the government presented its Speech from the Throne, a somewhat thin document that is short on promise and even shorter on specifics. The throne speech is notable really for what it does not include: education and training, early childhood and development, infrastructure or support for cities, aboriginal Canadians, social housing, arts and culture, and other important issues. But as was noted by the member for Huron—Bruce just now, most shockingly is that our farm families face a crisis this spring. This is a throne speech that found barely any time for agriculture.

My question is for the Prime Minister. Why is the state of agriculture in our country not one of his government's five priorities?

Agriculture
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, let me begin by not just congratulating the Leader of the Opposition on his re-election but by acknowledging his long and outstanding public and parliamentary career, and noting that he is very worthy of the honour bestowed on him by his party of being Leader of the Opposition.

The first act of the government was to release three quarters of a billion dollars the previous government had been sitting on that was going directly to farmers. This is more than the previous government did in its entire 13 years in office.

Agriculture
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Toronto Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I thank the Prime Minister for his response. As we say in English, a soft answer turneth away wrath. Still, I cannot accept his answer that the funding given to farmers under our administration was nothing more than a policy to recognize the problems facing farmers and farming in Canada.

Will the Prime Minister commit to making agriculture one of his government's top priorities?

Agriculture
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition says that the former Liberal government promised to spend this money. The former Liberal government promised to do a lot of things, but this government intends to honour its commitments. We have provided this money.

Agriculture
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Toronto Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, if that were satisfactory to the farmers who are outside our House today demonstrating their discontent and their concern about their future, I think they would have been happy with that answer, but they are not and neither are we.

The government has no concrete answer for agriculture and our farmers need assistance today. Will it listen to our concerns and the concerns of farmers and commit now to providing our farmers and their families the money they need today, so they can put seeds in the ground this spring and--

Agriculture
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

The right hon. Prime Minister.

Agriculture
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I and the government are the first to acknowledge that the problems of agriculture in this country are very serious. They are going to require short term action on the part of the government with the promises we made in our campaign which will be forthcoming. They will also require further work on a long term vision. I remind members that we would not be in this state today had we not had 13 years of neglect and ignoring the agricultural industry.

Public Works and Government Services
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister did the exact opposite of what he said. He said that to become a cabinet minister a person should be elected to Parliament. Then he appointed one of his main political campaign organizers—a non-elected person—to head a high profile department, that of Public Works and Government Services.

How does the Prime Minister explain this inconsistency between what he said in his speech on accountability and what he did?

Public Works and Government Services
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I think it is essential for the greater Montreal area to be represented in our cabinet and in our new federalist government. For that reason, I used the only option available to me and that was to use a seat in the other place.

If the Liberal Party is against such representation for Montreal, then it should just say so.

Public Works and Government Services
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, we all know that Montrealers do not agree with the Conservatives' views, nor do Torontonians or Vancouverites, but that is not the point.

How does the Prime Minister explain that a minister responsible for $13 billion in contracts annually is not accountable to this House of Commons?

Public Works and Government Services
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member spoke of the views of Montrealers and Quebeckers. I can tell you that the views of Quebeckers are clear. They are not in favour of a centralist government or an independent Quebec; they are in favour of a stronger Quebec within a better Canada. Those are Conservative principles.

UNESCO
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, in a speech given in Quebec City last December 19, the Prime Minister promised Quebec that it could participate in UNESCO in a manner similar to its participation in the francophone summit, where Quebec speaks for itself. The throne speech now makes reference to granting Quebec a role in UNESCO, while adding that Canada speaks with one voice in the international community, and hence at UNESCO.

Can the Prime Minister tell us what Quebec’s real place will be at UNESCO? Will it be the one to which he committed himself in his speech of December 19, or the one described in the Speech from the Throne, which is very similar to the one promoted by the previous government?