House of Commons Hansard #47 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was election.

Topics

Sponsorship Program
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

Ken Epp Edmonton—Sherwood Park, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal sponsorship scandal was a disgraceful period in our history where millions of taxpayer dollars were stolen and diverted to the coffers of the Liberal Party of Canada.

My question is for the President of the Treasury Board. How many dollars have been recovered to date from the Liberal Party over the sponsorship scandal?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, the easy answer to the question from the member for Edmonton—Sherwood Park is not enough of the money. Not all of the money that was stolen by the Liberal Party has been returned to the coffers. Justice Gomery in his report talks about the envelopes of cash that were funnelled to ridings in the western and eastern townships and to ridings in western Quebec.

The Canadian taxpayer expects the Liberal Party to refund all of the money that was stolen from hard-working taxpayers and they also expect the Liberal Senate to pass the federal accountability act immediately.

Softwood Lumber
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Incredibly, Mr. Speaker, the government is now intervening in court to stop Canadians from winning once and for all on softwood lumber. Winning means that the illegal tariffs come off and every penny has to be repaid. There are no more appeals. We are months away from winning.

This means that the minister botched the discussions. It means that the $1 billion proceeds of trade crime did not have to be thrown away and it means that we did not need to give up four years of legal victories.

Why is the government blocking Canada's two final victories? Is it because Canadians will see how badly it screwed up?

Softwood Lumber
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Vancouver Kingsway
B.C.

Conservative

David Emerson Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Pacific Gateway and the Vancouver-Whistler Olympics

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is spreading more of his intellectual dishonesty on the softwood lumber agreement. He knows the softwood lumber agreement has massive support from the industry. Over 90% of the softwood lumber companies support this softwood lumber agreement.

It is dishonest to spread the notion that there would be no more legal cases and no more appeals. There would be nothing but economic calamity if we did not have this softwood lumber agreement.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Following discussions with the representatives of all parties of the House, I invite the honourable members to rise and observe a moment of silence to commemorate the Canadian soldiers who have lost their lives in Afghanistan and the four soldiers who lost their lives yesterday.

[A moment of silence observed]

Benoît Sauvageau
Oral Questions

September 18th, 2006 / 3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

We will now proceed to statements about the death of our dear colleague, Benoît Sauvageau.

Benoît Sauvageau
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, dear colleagues, I am speaking to you and to all members and friends of Benoît Sauvageau's family who are here with us today.

I would like to mention the sadness, but also the great pride, I feel in paying tribute to a man who was one of our own. I refer to Benoît Sauvageau as one of our own; however, first and foremost he was a husband, father, son and friend.

I would like once again to express my condolences to them and tell them how proud they can be. They can be proud of him as the elected representative of the people of Repentigny. They can be proud of him for his work in the House of Commons, in the committees, in the Bloc Québécois caucus and in all the activities that are part of the daily life of a member of Parliament.

As such, he served on three standing committees, and some pretty important ones at that. Until very recently, he was on the Standing Committee on Public Accounts where, through his conscientious work, he defended the bond of trust between Canadians and their institutions. He was also on the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, a crucial area if ever there was one, because it deals with our relations with the world. He was also a member of the Standing Committee on Official Languages, a key issue for the nation of Quebec as well as Canadian francophones and Acadians.

He worked tirelessly on all these committees, with great fervour and conviction but always with the natural elegance for which he was known. He carried the ball on a host of files for the Bloc Québécois, ranging from international trade to public accounts and Treasury Board, not to forget amateur sport and the Francophonie. He was also the deputy whip on our team. In all these duties, he earned the respect of everyone here.

He did all this and I am grateful to him for it, I thank him, but he did much more than his job as a member of Parliament. He embodied in his discreet, cheerful way all the humanity we need in our line of work.

The debates we hold in this place are often very intense. Benoît had the ability to engage in vigorous debate while always being scrupulously respectful of others. He was known less for his brilliant achievements or cutting rejoinders than for his great humanity. The numerous tributes we have heard from all the other parties are proof of that.

I had the feeling that these tributes were very sincere. We in the Bloc were deeply moved by them and I thank everyone.

Disagreements with political foes are normal and even desirable in a democracy. Despite these differences, though, Benoît managed the great feat of making himself respected and even loved by all the political foes who got to know him well without ever compromising his convictions and principles.

Like all of us, Benoît was not perfect. For example, his eldest daughter revealed just a little while ago that he never did master the agreement of past participles in French. He was not perfect, but he had remarkable humanity, and it is this memory of Benoît, a man of great humanity, that will remain etched in our memories. We will all miss him very much. We already do.

Benoît Sauvageau
Oral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, unfortunately, this seems to be a time of tragedy.

On August 28, 2006, we were very saddened to learn that the hon. member for Repentigny, Benoît Sauvageau, was the victim of a traffic accident. This tragic accident cost him his life, leaving his wife, Jacinthe, and four daughters, Laurence, Catherine, Élisabeth and Alice, to mourn their loss, along with the rest of his family and his many friends. At this time, I would like to again offer our sincere condolences.

I had the privilege of working with Benoît on many occasions, when we both sat on the opposition benches over 10 years ago when we were both still very young members. He was the type of man whose honour and integrity were matched only by his generosity and sparkling wit.

Even though we did not share the same vision regarding the relationship that should exist between Quebec and the rest of Canada, he was always gracious when defending his principles and ideals.

I was very impressed by his many qualities: his willingness to always give his all in the service of his constituents; his passion for his work as an MP; his genuine love for the French language and culture; his profound faith in democratic institutions; and, above all, his tremendous respect for others.

Whether on the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, the Standing Committee on Official Languages, on other committees, or here in this House, Benoît always demonstrated the utmost respect towards those with whom he engaged in lively debate.

There is no doubt that his death came far too early, but it should be of some consolation that his short life was characterized by tremendous dignity and rare fervour.

The Bloc Québécois caucus lost a colleague in the prime of his life who had so much to offer. I am certain that we will all miss Benoît's enlightened and significant contribution.

Benoît Sauvageau
Oral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Toronto Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, like all the members here today in the House, I was terribly saddened to learn about the tragic death of our colleague and friend, the member for Repentigny. This news left no one untouched. Benoît Sauvageau was a good man loved by all. I hope that the great compassion expressed for him by Canadians has helped all those affected by his premature death to get through this difficult time.

On behalf of all the members of the official opposition and the Liberal Party of Canada, I wish first of all to offer our most sincere condolences to his wife and four daughters, as well as to his entire family and each of his loved ones. To all those who knew Benoît well, to the people of Quebec and everyone from Repentigny and the North Shore, we humbly extend our most sincere condolences and all our sympathy in these most difficult circumstances.

I also wish to say to all our colleagues of the Bloc Québécois that we are thinking of them and that we know how hard today and the coming weeks will be without the presence of someone so well respected and loved. May they accept our expression of solidarity in these circumstances so difficult for them and their party.

All the members understand that beyond our partisan differences we all feel the mutual respect due to all those who are committed to the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the sound exercise of our parliamentary democracy.

Each of my colleagues in the official opposition and I felt this respect for Benoît, who always earned it fully in each of his interventions in this House, in committee and in each of his parliamentary initiatives.

He was a good member. The people of Repentigny have lost a hard-working, intelligent representative who knew how to convey the points of view of his riding effectively in this House.

Unanimously, the members who have spoken about Benoît have underscored the honesty with which he performed his duties as a parliamentarian. Many have spoken of the fact that, while his interventions were sometimes blunt, Benoît never indulged in empty rhetoric. He had deep respect for his colleagues.

I myself had the opportunity to work closely with the member for Repentigny, when he was on the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade. I always appreciated his interventions; they were always thoughtful and appropriate. As the member for Laurier—Sainte-Marie said, he made an important contribution—I had the privilege to be a member of the committee—with great talent, sincerity and the will to work with everyone for the wellbeing of his province, of his fellow citizens and our country.

For these reasons, Benoît rightly earned the respect of his colleagues in the House. As I said earlier, for those who had the opportunity of working closely with him in committee, there was a universal admiration and friendship that is difficult to achieve in the inevitably adversarial nature of our operations.

Let me conclude by reiterating once again, on my behalf and on behalf of the whole Liberal family, that we share the sadness of Benoît’s family and loved ones and that they hold a very special place in our thoughts.

Let me also recall the memory of Benoît Sauvageau. I hope that his memory will remain in the history of our country as that of a man of integrity, a devoted man worthy of the respect of each and every one of his fellow citizens.

Finally let me express the wish, on behalf of all my colleagues and myself, that Benoît’s soul will rest in peace for eternity. We will all miss him.

Benoît Sauvageau
Oral Questions

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, I was very sad to learn of the sudden death of my parliamentary colleague, Bloc Québécois member Benoît Sauvageau, especially since I was out of the country and unable to attend his funeral.

It is therefore my privilege today to pay tribute to him, even though I do so with a heavy heart.

I worked with Mr. Sauvageau in the course of my parliamentary duties. In 2002 I was assigned to the Standing Committee on Official Languages, of which Mr. Sauvageau was a member. I got to know the member for Repentigny, but also the man.

It was always a pleasure to sit with him. Courteous, smiling and friendly, he always greeted me with, “Salut Yvon”. All the members of the committee will agree that he greeted everyone in a simple and familiar fashion.

He was always well prepared for every session and had a thorough grasp of files and issues. He took a special interest in Air Canada. I am certain that Air Canada senior management trembled with fear at the mention of Benoît Sauvageau's name. Even worse, when Air Canada representatives had to testify before the committee, they knew they were in for a rough ride, because Benoît was waiting for them. I would not have wanted to be in their shoes. I preferred to have him sitting next to me rather than across the table. We have Benoît to thank for the little card for official languages complaints that Air Canada places in seat pockets on its aircraft.

I would like to tell a short anecdote. Air Canada said that the complaint cards cost too much, so Benoît had one made. He told them exactly how much it had cost, which was not much.

To Benoît, every issue was important. He understood his role as a parliamentarian, but also as a member of the committee. He was a good ambassador not only for francophones in Quebec, but also for the francophone communities in Canada and Acadia. His efforts to promote the French language and culture were recognized when the Assemblée parlementaire de la Francophonie made him a Chevalier de l'Ordre de la Pléiade, Ordre de la Francophonie et du dialogue des cultures.

Unfortunately, he was assigned to other committees, and I never had the chance to work with him again. Nevertheless, I am sure he worked just as enthusiastically on his new files.

He was a good member of Parliament who worked tirelessly for his community and the people in it. His five terms as a member of Parliament are a testament to his integrity and his devotion to his community.

Over the past few weeks, I have heard his Bloc colleagues, others who worked with him, and people everywhere say good things about him. Everything they said about him was true.

It almost seemed like people had sent the word around, but that was not the case. Benoît was always true to himself; he was a good man and true. He was a real gentleman and an example to us all.

Many people would have liked to pay tribute to him today. I hope that I have adequately expressed what we all feel.

Today, he leaves behind not only his grieving family, but also his family here in Parliament. There is no doubt he will be missed.

On behalf of the NDP and its leader, I would like to express our sincere condolences to his wife, children and family.

My dear Benoît, you left without giving us a chance to say goodbye, so I would like to take this opportunity to say farewell, my friend.

Benoît Sauvageau
Oral Questions

3:25 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, on August 28 a colleague, and for many of us a friend first and foremost, was taken from us. Benoît sat in the House of Commons for 13 years and we all remember a moment, a conversation, a meeting that bears witness to the wonderful qualities of this man who was gentle, generous and had a great sense of humour.

As a history teacher, Benoît understood better than anyone the challenges faced by francophones living in North America. He decided to defend francophones living outside Quebec and made this part of his political commitment. Nothing could turn him away from this undertaking, which was included in every parliamentary responsibility and which he defended with tact, dedication and determination. As a result of his perseverance, he was bestowed with the title of Chevalier de l'Ordre de la Pléiade in 2003.

Although he defended his causes with his customary determination, we also remember that Benoît went about his business with an air of calm, refinement and civility. This level approach earned him the respect of everyone, including his adversaries, and is what made him a real gentleman.

Benoît demonstrated tremendous respect for others and their ideas because he understood that, beyond being members of Parliament, we are all human beings first and foremost, and consequently felt that abuse, pettiness and insults had no place here.

Benoît was a sensitive, considerate man and enjoyable to be around. I still recall having dinner with colleagues after a long day of work when Benoît would manage to pull us out of the parliamentary whirlwind that sometimes kept us long after normal working hours.

He would tell us about his life, about happy times spent with his wife Jacinthe and their children, whom he adored, and about his parents and brother, whom he admired and loved. We now share in their pain and offer them our sincere condolences.

The members newly elected for this 39th Parliament will recall his coming here to this House last winter, accompanied by his oldest daughter, in order to give us a one day training session on the challenges we face in balancing work and family.

We saw a teenager's pride in her father and a father who was proud of his daughters, made obvious by what they each had to say.

Benoît, it is now our turn to show you our pride. We are proud of the work you accomplished and proud that you were part of our team.

Your seat remains empty today, but know that your memory will always be etched in my heart and in the hearts of all your colleagues.

Farewell, Benoît.

Benoît Sauvageau
Oral Questions

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

I want to thank all hon. members who expressed their regrets regarding the death of our dear colleague, Mr. Sauvageau. I now ask hon. members to rise to observe a moment of silence in honour of the late Benoît Sauvageau.

[A moment of silence observed]

Certificates of Nomination
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Niagara Falls
Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, I have the privilege to table, in both official languages, the certificate of nomination for the position of Commissioner of Official Languages.

Notice of Motion
Ways and Means
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Vancouver Kingsway
B.C.

Conservative

David Emerson Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Pacific Gateway and the Vancouver-Whistler Olympics

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 83(1), I wish to table a notice of ways and means motion respecting an act to implement the softwood lumber agreement with the United States.

I ask that an order of the day be designated for consideration of this motion.

Government Response to Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre
Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's responses to 19 petitions.