House of Commons Hansard #25 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was afghanistan.

Topics

Child Care
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

I am afraid the hon. member's time has expired.

The hon. member for Oak Ridges—Markham.

The Budget
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Lui Temelkovski Oak Ridges—Markham, ON

Mr. Speaker, before I begin my statement on the budget, I wish to welcome residents from my riding of Oak Ridges—Markham who are in Ottawa celebrating Asian Heritage Month.

Tax measures in the Conservative budget do very little to truly help my constituents.

First, the lowest tax rate for Canadians will increase to 15.5% and the basic exemption will decrease by $200. While raising the taxes we pay, the Conservatives are implementing a GST cut that only benefits the wealthy who spend more money on luxury goods.

Also, the transit tax credit of 15.5% does very little, if I may say, to benefit the transportation needs of my riding. Commuters in my riding benefit when money is pooled and goes toward such projects as light rail, subway extension and improved bus services. These are what encourage people to use the transit system, not the paltry tax cut for those that already use it.

National Day Against Homophobia
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, today is the national day against homophobia and this year's focus is a homophobia-free workplace. Recognizing this national day was a Quebec initiative, proposed by Fondation Émergence. Legal equality for homosexuals was achieved in 2005 with the right to same-sex marriage. However, further work is needed to achieve social equality for homosexual and transgender individuals.

May 17 was the date chosen to mark this event because it was on May 17, 1990 that the World Health Organization removed homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses. This year, more than 30 countries will organize activities to denounce homophobia all around the world, from Canada to Russia, from Turkey to Sri Lanka, and even in China.

I ask you to support this international day to fight against homophobia and to encourage our governments to implement measures to prevent this discrimination, which is similar to racism, sexism or anti-Semitism.

National Day Against Homophobia
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, for the past four years, May 17 has been recognized by Fondation Émergence as a national day against homophobia.

The theme of this year's campaign is fighting homophobia in the workplace and in the world of sports. All too often, gays and lesbians are victims of harassment based on their sexual orientation.

I encourage all Canadians to speak out against homophobia and to work for a better and more tolerant Canada.

I would also like to take advantage of this national day against homophobia to encourage the members of this House who still oppose civil marriage between same-sex partners to reflect carefully on the negative consequences of their belief.

I ask everyone to join me in support of this day.

Afghanistan
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Laurie Hawn Edmonton Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, for months the opposition parties have called for a vote on our role in Afghanistan. Our Prime Minister has agreed to that vote. Opposition members are now playing politics with our mission in Afghanistan.

Liberal and NDP members just weeks ago supported this mission. The member for Halifax said, “It's not a question of should we be in Afghanistan. Yes, we should, we need to be, we need to be in for the long haul”. The member for Etobicoke—Lakeshore said, “We have got to be a party that stands for human rights everywhere, that does the tough lifting when it has to be done”. And finally, the member for Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca said, “The courageous Canadians who are in this dangerous theatre must have our unequivocal and steely support. They must know that we fully support them and that their mission is critically important to Canada, Canadians and the world”.

This government could not agree more. We hope that the opposition parties will keep their word, do the right thing tonight and support our men and women in uniform and their continued efforts in Afghanistan.

Canadian Forces
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Toronto Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, it is with great sadness that members of the House will have learned that today a Canadian soldier died in Afghanistan. I would like on behalf of our party and I believe all members of the House to express our deepest sympathies to her family and friends.

Of course, we regret this tragic loss of life.

I would ask the Prime Minister if he would like to comment on this.

Canadian Forces
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I thank the Leader of the Opposition for his question. He is correct. Today we suffered a combat casualty in Afghanistan. I have the name of a female officer who was killed in combat action against Taliban forces. I am not at liberty to release the name. The next of kin, a husband, is being notified.

These are always terrible tragedies. I do not know if this is a first female combat death. It is certainly not a first that we ever want to celebrate, but it does underscore the tremendous courage that our young men and women show in our theatre. I believe they have the right at all times to know that those of us who send them into combat stand behind their mission.

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Toronto Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, this House clearly expressed its wishes with regard to Canada's environmental policy. A sizeable majority of elected representatives of the Canadian people asked the Prime Minister to ensure that Canada meet the objectives established by the Kyoto protocol.

When the current Prime Minister was the opposition leader, he continually asked the government to respect the wishes of Parliament. Will he do so in this case, also?

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the government's position has been clear for quite some time: we intend to respect our election promises.

It is unfortunate that the former government accepted targets but refused to take action to meet them. It is easy for the opposition parties to vote for sentiments. However, a government must have plans and take action. And we intend to take real action.

Government Accountability
Oral Questions

May 17th, 2006 / 2:20 p.m.

Toronto Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, you and all members of the House will recall that during the previous election, the current Prime Minister assured Canadians who were concerned by the extreme views of his caucus that he be held in check by a minority Parliament. The Prime Minister wanted to work with all parties in this minority Parliament, he claimed. But the Prime Minister has no intention of respecting yesterday's vote on the environment. His commitment to accountability was jettisoned when his choice to head the appointments commission was rejected because he was one of his bagmen.

How does that give the members of the House any confidence about the consequence of tonight's vote on Afghanistan?

Government Accountability
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, actions do have consequences. The vote yesterday to reject Canada's most outstanding CEO who was willing to provide his services to the Government of Canada for $1 a year is an action that has consequences.

I can understand why the party opposite would not want to clean up the appointments process given the kind of scandals it ran when it was in office.

This party will go ahead and do the job itself.

Government Accountability
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

I remind all hon. members that cellphones are not to be used in the Chamber. The hon. member for Saint-Laurent—Cartierville has the floor.

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Stéphane Dion Saint-Laurent—Cartierville, QC

It was not a cellphone, Mr. Speaker.

Just two short months ago, the Prime Minister was adamant that he would not support a parliamentary vote on extending Canada's mission to Afghanistan. He said, “We are not going to have votes on commitments already made”.

A week ago, in response to a question by the member for Laurier—Sainte-Marie, the Prime Minister said, “—we committed ourselves to holding votes on new commitments. We are already in Afghanistan”.

Why this sudden about face by the Prime Minister?

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I have long expressed the desire to hold a vote on military commitments. It is unfortunate that such a vote was not held long ago. All the parties in this House were in agreement yesterday with the vote and the procedure. Now they are starting to complain. There is no leadership over there.

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Stéphane Dion Saint-Laurent—Cartierville, QC

Mr. Speaker, we would ask the Prime Minister to be worthy of his office. This is an extremely serious issue. He decided all of a sudden to have a vote in this House without debate on a matter as serious in a respectable timeframe for this House. So, either he has already decided and is determined to prolong the mission however the House votes—and so the vote means nothing—or he has not decided and so the House can debate for weeks on end this very important issue.

Has he or has he not decided?