House of Commons Hansard #19 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

Official Languages
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Raymonde Folco Laval—Les Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate the Commissioner of Official Languages, Ms. Dyane Adam, for her 2005-06 annual report, tabled today in Parliament.

This report calls for more vigorous federal action to promote Canada's vitality as a bilingual country.

I wholeheartedly support every recommendation she made to the government.

The first task of the Standing Committee on Official Languages must be to thoroughly study the content of the report.

The report, entitled “Official Languages in Canada: Taking on the New Challenge”, will compel the Conservatives to build on the social and economic foundations of the policy and practices put in place by the Liberal government.

The Minister for la Francophonie and Official Languages must end her silence, prove to communities that the action plan for official languages has a future, and enter into dialogue with community partners.

Congratulations to Ms. Adam for her seven years of service as the Commissioner of Official Languages.

Immigration
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Meili Faille Vaudreuil-Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, Canada currently has a moratorium on the return of foreign nationals to certain countries where there are generalized risks to the safety of individuals. Some such people have been in Canada for a number of years, existing in a legal limbo that deprives them of many fundamental goods and services and prevents them from leading a normal life.

It appears very difficult for many such foreign nationals to obtain permanent residence, which they so desperately want.

Their precarious situation causes them considerable distress and suffering and the Bloc Québécois is calling for speedy action.

Let us work together on developing a system that would make it easier to grant permanent residence to everyone who has been in Canada for more than three years and who is from a country that is under a moratorium.

EnerGuide
Statements By Members

May 9th, 2006 / 2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Recently the Conservative government cancelled the $500 million EnerGuide for low income housing program, another example of how this year's budget gives Canada's most disadvantaged citizens the cold shoulder. Without EnerGuide, Canada has no strategy to protect low income households from escalating energy prices and no strategy to engage these households in an effort to reduce pollution.

I know that the environment and support for low income Canadians are not among the government's top five priorities. However, if this government cancels EnerGuide, it will be low income Canadians that the Conservatives will once again leave in the cold. Home energy prices have increased dramatically. Low income householders will bear much of the cost since they generally spend a much higher percentage of their income on heating.

Last November, the Conservatives joined all other parties in Parliament in unanimously supporting Bill C-66, legislation that included $100 million a year over five years for a new program to improve the energy efficiency of Canada's low income housing. I call upon the government to live up to this previous commitment to energy efficiency and invest the resources needed to ensure a warmer future for those in need.

Federal-Provincial Relations
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Jeff Watson Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, first it was ethics amnesia, and now the Liberals forget how badly they beat up Dalton McGuinty. The premier has not forgotten. Neither have we.

The Liberal from Scarborough--Agincourt accused Mr. McGuinty of scapegoating the previous federal Liberal government to get re-elected, never mind that Mr. McGuinty was in year one of a four year term. It sounds more like what the former Liberal government was doing on the brink of collapse under the weight of its own corruption.

Members do not have take my word: let us take the words of the Liberal from Markham--Unionville, who accused Mr. McGuinty of not standing up for Canada. How could Mr. McGuinty, when he, according to the member, was horizontal, in bed with the separatist Bloc to defeat the Liberals in Ottawa? He called Mr. McGuinty “nationally dangerous” too.

The Liberal from Toronto Centre called Mr. McGuinty “unwise”. The Liberal from Don Valley West said he was like a rich man complaining, or passing strange, as the Liberal from Scarborough--Guildwood said. The Liberal from Pickering--Scarborough East admitted to no decent working relationship.

No wonder more Ontarians chose this Conservative government to improve relations between Ottawa and Queen's Park.

Justice
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Toronto Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Prime Minister refused to condemn the outrageous remarks of the member for Saskatoon—Wanuskewin. The House was told that these were one person's views, not the government's.

During the election campaign, the Prime Minister himself opened the door to this kind of thinking when he complained about being constrained by “a Liberal appointed court system”. He even talked of a conspiracy to stack the court with Liberal minded judges.

Will the Prime Minister admit that his reluctance to condemn the remarks of the member is in fact because in the end they reflect his own view and that of his party?

Justice
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I certainly will admit no such thing. Not only has the hon. member for Saskatoon—Wanuskewin said that his remarks do not represent the position of the government, he has withdrawn some of those remarks, as the Leader of the Opposition knows.

The member for Scarborough—Guildwood, one of the senior critics in the party opposite, said the following in the Ottawa Citizen on March 18, “What is the Supreme Court but a priesthood served by acolytes in black robes?”

If that is not a description of a religion, I do not know what is. I would like to know if that is really the position of the Liberal Party.

Justice
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Toronto Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, a Liberal prime minister always defended our judiciary. This is not some random backbench MP we are talking about.

In spite of the Prime Minister's pledge to allow committees to elect their own chairs, he appointed that member, surely knowing that his appointment would offend aboriginal Canadians. He says that he withdrew some of his remarks, but yesterday the member made it clear that he is unrepentant about them.

For the sake of our parliamentary integrity, for the sake of our aboriginal peoples, for the sake of his own credibility, will the Prime Minister now demand the resignation of his chair of that committee?

Justice
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, one day the Leader of the Opposition says I should not appoint committee chairs. Now he is telling me I should say who can and cannot be a committee chair. I wish he would get his story straight.

The fact of the matter is that if that party and that member oppose these kinds of comments, then they should withdraw the comments they have made, which are far worse than anything the member Saskatoon—Wanuskewin said.

Justice
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Toronto Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham Leader of the Opposition

Enough is enough, Mr. Speaker. The Prime Minister continues to refuse to condemn the remarks by his committee chairman. He continues to refuse to apologize to the chief justice. Let us not forget that it is this Prime Minister who questioned the abilities of justices to render independent rulings.

Will the Prime Minister stand to defend our judiciary and immediately ask for the resignation of this committee chairman?

Justice
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, once again, the Prime Minister cannot force a committee chairman to resign. That falls within the authority of the committee. However, I would like to say that the statements of the leader of the opposition are entirely false. It is not the position of this government. The member withdrew his remarks. It is now up to the Liberal Party to withdraw its remarks which are far worse than those of the member for Saskatoon—Wanuskewin.

Official Languages
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Jean Lapierre Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Commissioner of Official Languages reminded us today that there is still a legal void in terms of the linguistic rights of Air Canada passengers and employees since its restructuring.

Why has the government still not followed our example and tabled amendments to the Air Canada Public Participation Act to ensure that the linguistic rights of francophones and anglophones are respected at Air Canada and all its affiliates?

Official Languages
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Pontiac
Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for his question. Obviously we take the comments in the Commissioner of Official Languages's report seriously. I should mention that the Commissioner had raised the same issues a few years ago when she tabled two other reports that indicated the same thing. In fact, in the end my predecessor hastily tabled a bill that died on the Order Paper.

Official Languages
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Jean Lapierre Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, I asked a very simple question. Will the Minister of Transport table a bill immediately, a bill that is already prepared and has received approval from the Commissioner of Official Languages, requiring Air Canada and all its affiliates to respect the Official Languages Act and respect francophones in Canada?

Official Languages
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Pontiac
Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I see that my hon. colleague defends this matter with great conviction. Nonetheless, it is a shame he did not have that same conviction for defending this issue in the past.

I would add that I had the opportunity last week to meet the Commissioner for the first time since we came into power. She brought this issue to my attention. We will take into consideration all aspects of the issue and announce our position at a later date.

UNESCO
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, in the agreement on Quebec's place in UNESCO, the Government of Quebec undertook to participate in the work of UNESCO “in harmony with the general orientations of Canadian foreign policy”.

Would the Prime Minister tell us whether the Government of Quebec could publicly express its disagreement in UNESCO, should its position differ from that of Canada?