House of Commons Hansard #43 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was aboriginal.

Topics

Tibet
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Reid Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington, ON

Mr. Speaker, around the world, political conflicts are rife with violence, but the Tibetan people, under the guidance of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, continue their strict adherence to the principles of non-violent conflict resolution as they seek to resolve the half century old Tibetan issue.

With five rounds of dialogue completed since 2002 between his envoys and Beijing, there is renewed optimism that a resolution on the Tibetan issue is finally possible.

Tibet represents the ultimate test for the future of peaceful dialogue and reconciliation. A peaceful resolution to the Tibetan issue prior to the 2008 Beijing Olympics would, therefore, be the perfect gift to His Holiness, to the Tibetan people, but also to the Chinese people and the world community.

Non-violent conflict resolution is or should be a core value for Canadians. Therefore, it is essential for Canada to play a role.

His Holiness, who is now 71 years old, has had to spend the majority of his life in exile. He deserves our support to return home, along with the exiled Tibetan community.

Employment Insurance
Statements By Members

June 19th, 2006 / 2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Brian Murphy Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to tell a story about a woman in my riding who recently became a mother of two, two standard poodle puppies.

That will have to satisfy her maternal urge for the moment as having human babies and being an entrepreneur does not seem to be attainable given the current lack of government support for parental leave for business owners and entrepreneurs.

Under the employment insurance rules, self-employed workers may not pay EI premiums. They are therefore not eligible for parental leave. Without that safety net, many entrepreneurs do not have the resources to have children.

It is somewhat hypocritical to encourage people to go into business and then deny them the opportunity to start a family and benefit from the same social programs as other Canadian families.

I call on the government to take immediate action on the issue of parental benefits and EI for entrepreneurs. Let us extend the opportunity to have children with full social support systems to all Canadians, not just a select few.

Liberal Party of Canada
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Chris Warkentin Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, recently Liberal leadership candidate Gerard Kennedy continued the Liberal attack on hard-working rural Canadians. He suggested that they pay even more tax on the vehicles that they depend on for their livelihoods.

In saying this, Kennedy took another low blow at our struggling farmers and our rural communities. I would like to say that Mr. Kennedy, like the Liberal Party, is simply out of touch with rural Canada.

Does he not understand that our construction trades, oil and forestry workers, and our farmers need these methods of transport to support their families?

Do Liberals believe that rural Canadians should bear a greater burden for choosing an honest and essential Canadian profession?

Mr. Kennedy has criticized the Liberal Party and even stated that “Western Canada has to stop being the afterthought when it comes to Liberal policy”. In true Liberal fashion, Mr. Kennedy is contradicting himself. Canada needs policies that respect all Canadians, including rural western constituents like my own.

Community Events
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Wayne Marston Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, ON

Mr. Speaker, this past weekend, I was honoured to be invited to march and participate in events celebrating two diverse communities.

The Sikh community gathered and I marched five kilometres with it to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the martyrdom of one of its most beloved gurus, Arjan Dev.

Guru Arjan Dev laid the foundation for the Golden Temple in Amritsar and is celebrated for his work in writing The Guru Granth Sahib, which compiled the writings of past gurus into one book.

I also joined several hundred friends and members of the Hamilton area gay, lesbian and transgendered community in a march celebrating our community's diversity through downtown Hamilton.

Once again, members of the downtown business community showed its support for Pride events and there were a series of successful events including a gala awards reception recognizing important community leaders.

This weekend's events served to remind that diversity and equality, core Canadian values, are alive and well in our community and we are one step closer to ensuring it is free of racism and hate.

Veterans
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Sukh Dhaliwal Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, recently two outstanding volunteers in my riding, Mr. Andy Block and Mr. Marc Searle, saw their efforts to commemorate war veterans meet with great success in a ceremony to mark veterans graves in Surrey.

The Lieutenant Governor of B.C. along with MLA Gord Hogg were on hand to commemorate the 36 brave soldiers who fought for our freedoms.

I am pleased to see today in Ottawa another B.C. MLA and parliamentary secretary, Dave Hayer and his wife, Isabelle.

There are an estimated 3,000 veterans in unmarked graves across British Columbia, and who knows how many across this country? I urge this government to implement a national program to mark the graves of these unsung heroes who gave so much for us.

Tashi Wangdi
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Meili Faille Vaudreuil-Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, today we welcome Mr. Tashi Wangdi, the representative of the Dalai Lama in America, to Parliament Hill.

He is a member of the negotiating group in the secretariat of the extended Kashag—the cabinet of the government of Tibet in exile—which plays an advisory and support role in negotiations between the Dalai Lama’s emissaries and China.

Mr. Wangdi is a senior official in the government of Tibet in exile; he joined that government in 1966, and since that time he has held office numerous times as a kalon, the equivalent of minister.

He has headed a number of ministries, including Religion and Culture, Interior, Education, Information and International Relations, as well as Security and Health. For many years, he was also the Dalai Lama’s representative in New Delhi.

The Bloc Québécois welcomes him to Parliament Hill and wishes him a productive visit among us.

Aboriginal Affairs
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Alan Tonks York South—Weston, ON

Mr. Speaker, on the heels of abrogating on the Kelowna accord, the government now intends to eliminate the aboriginal standing offers on government contracts.

This aboriginal business strategy was created in order to increase the number of aboriginal suppliers bidding for and winning federal contacts. Many aboriginal businesses, large and small, rely on the Procurement Strategy for Aboriginal Business. Each year the livelihoods of many aboriginal entrepreneurs depend on these opportunities.

The previous Liberal government recognized that when it came to federal government procurement, aboriginal businesses pursuing and winning contracts were underrepresented. This government must realize that when it comes to fostering better opportunities for hard-working aboriginals, it must look beyond the bottom line and consider what is just.

The government should do what is right. It should honour and maintain the aboriginal standing offers on government contracts.

Member for Kings—Hants
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Dean Allison Niagara West—Glanbrook, ON

Mr. Speaker, ageism is a very real prejudice that exists in our country and is in fact being fostered within the Liberal Party. In a recent interview, the hon. member for Kings—Hants, who wants to be leader of the Liberal Party, clearly showed his disdain for seniors.

He dismissed former external affairs minister Barbara McDougall's role in representing the federal government in the Caledonia situation and actually suggested that she had no role to play because of her age, calling her a “wax museum figure”.

These comments are not only insulting to Ms. McDougall, but they are also an insult to Canadian seniors. We should be applauding Ms. McDougall and considering ourselves fortunate to have someone with her expertise and experience so committed to this cause.

The member owes Ms. McDougall an immediate and full apology. He should also apologize to all Canadian seniors for his insulting and demeaning comments and boorish behaviour.

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Toronto Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, today in the House we call on the House to direct the attention of Canadians to the need improve the quality of life of our aboriginal peoples, the quality of their housing, health, clean water, education and economic opportunity, our daily reproach to Canadians who live in one of the most fortunate and prosperous countries in the world.

The Kelowna accord represented an opportunity to break out of this situation, to turn the page, to start a new non-confrontational approach to our dealings with our aboriginal peoples.

Why has the Prime Minister turned his back on this historic opportunity for our aboriginal peoples and for Canadian society?

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southeast
Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition talks about opportunity. He had an opportunity while he sat on this side of the House for 13 years to act on the problems faced by our aboriginal people and for 13 years the Liberals failed to meet that opportunity.

At the last minute, days before an election, they made commitments that they never funded over 13 years and that they did not even put in their budgets. Whereas our minister of aboriginal affairs and the Prime Minister have committed $3.7 billion in new investments, for water, for aboriginals who do not live on reserves, to help improve their living conditions. They talked, we are acting.

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Toronto Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, it may have taken the Liberal government 13 years to put together an historic accord for the aboriginal peoples of Canada and for Canadians. It took that government 13 days to turn its back on the possibility of an aboriginal accord. It is disgraceful. It is not acceptable in the House to continually throw out historic agreements.

In that precedent, a mood was set, a new mood for our aboriginal peoples. It was a commitment of all levels of government. Every premier across the country called upon it as a great move forward. This was no Liberal commitment. It was Canada's commitment. The Conservatives turned their back on Canada. They turned their back on the commitment of Canadians for our aboriginal people. It is not acceptable.

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southeast
Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, every one of those words is a word of self-condemnation. For 13 years the Liberals had an opportunity to deal productively and concretely with the problems faced by our first nations people and for 13 years they offered platitudes and rhetoric and no action.

However, in the very first budget of this new government, there was $3.7 billion in new investments to help improve the living quality of aboriginal people, to help improve the quality of water on reserves, of housing off reserves. They talked. We are acting and we will continue to act.

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Toronto Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, in contrast to the absolutely disdainful attitude of this government and this member, the parties to the Kelowna accord—the leaders of our aboriginal communities and the provincial and territorial first ministers—agree on one thing: this accord established a framework for addressing the serious problems of our aboriginal communities in a consistent and practical way. This government scrapped the accord without coming up with an alternate plan.

Why did the Prime Minister break this historic agreement between the Canadian government and Canada's aboriginal peoples and citizens?

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southeast
Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development was very clear about this: the Kelowna accord had valid points, objectives and targets. The government is aware of these. But we want to act. We do not simply want to send out press releases and give speeches. That is why we have made a major investment in housing for aboriginal people. We have also invested in quality drinking water for first nations people. We will continue to act under the leadership of the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development.

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

John Godfrey Don Valley West, ON

Mr. Speaker, the report card is in and the government has failed Canadians on the environment. The Sierra Club of Canada has issued its annual assessment and the Conservative government has been given a great big fat F: F for having failed Canadians on environmental responsibility; F for having forgotten that the environment is a priority for Canadians; and F for foolishly abandoning Kyoto because it was afraid to do the heavy lifting.

Giving this stinging condemnation of the government's inaction on the environment, will the Prime Minister apologize to Canadians for abandoning the fight against global warming?