House of Commons Hansard #100 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was regions.

Topics

2 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

It being Wednesday, we will now have the singing of the national anthem led by the hon. member for Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca.

[Members sang the national anthem]

The Environment
Statements by Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Jim Abbott Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Mr. Speaker, Kootenay—Columbia is one of the most fantastic areas on earth with majestic mountain ranges, picturesque lakes, lush valleys, natural hot springs and charming historic communities. Environmental protection is our priority. Living in the mountains at the source of the mighty Columbia River, we appreciate the pristine water and air.

We note that Canada's new government has replaced environmental talk with real environmental action through: a chemicals management plan to regulate potentially harmful substances; Canada's first ever clean air act tackling greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution; a biofuels plan; $2 billion in three new ecoenergy initiatives; and exempting donations of ecologically sensitive land from capital gains tax.

While other parties offered Canadians more empty platitudes, Canada's new government is taking real action to clean up our air, land and water. Kootenay residents have struck a healthy balance between work and play, respecting our spectacular natural environment.

Hrant Dink
Statements by Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Jim Karygiannis Scarborough—Agincourt, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to express my sorrow and condemnation of the brutal unprovoked murder of Turkish Armenian journalist, Mr. Hrant Dink, on January 19, 2007 in Istanbul, Turkey. I wish to extend my sympathies to the family of Mr. Dink and to the Armenian community throughout the world. My thoughts and prayers are with them.

Mr. Dink was an internationally respected journalist, intellectual and a prominent Armenian voice in Turkey. He believed there could be understanding, dialogue and peace among peoples.

During his distinguished career, Mr. Dink was outspoken against the state, advocating the opinion that Turkey committed genocide between 1915 and 1917 when it forced a mass evacuation from the Ottoman Empire and the related deaths of 1.5 million Armenians. He became victim 1.5 million and one. Mr. Dink's life's work will no doubt serve as an inspiration to other writers around the world who use the power of the pen as a weapon against brutality.

I also add my voice to the thousands at his funeral who stated, “I am Hrant Dink. I am Armenian”.

Jean-Yves Guindon
Statements by Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, today I would like to pay tribute to Jean-Yves Guindon, a watercolourist in my riding.

During the first Academia XXI gala of the international academy of fine arts of Quebec, held on November 4 in Montreal, Jean-Yves Guindon, a renowned artist in the Petite-Nation region, won the silver Athena prize in the professional category for his watercolour, L'entrée du village.

A number of well-known artists call Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel home and make their living practising their art there. Our communities have found ways to create environments that support artistic creation in various disciplines and have given our artists the opportunity to become regionally, nationally and internationally recognized.

I would like to congratulate Jean-Yves Guindon on his excellent work and on the recognition he has received from his peers by winning the silver Athena prize at the international academy of fine arts of Quebec gala. Bravo.

Jannit Rabinovitch
Statements by Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Denise Savoie Victoria, BC

Mr. Speaker, today I would like to honour the life of Jannit Rabinovitch who passed away on January 26. A respected community leader and advocate for the marginalized in Victoria, Jannit understood that transformative change was needed to address homelessness, drug addiction and prostitution. She believed that for people to live with dignity and pride we must first empower the voiceless.

Jannit brought together women fleeing violence and with them built Sandi Merriman House. She also co-founded PEERS, an organization that works to prevent marginalized women from disappearing into the night as they did in Vancouver.

While Jannit's death is an immense loss to our community of Victoria, her life is an inspiration for those who continue to work to eradicate injustice.

Afghanistan
Statements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Betty Hinton Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

Mr. Speaker, I take this opportunity today on the first anniversary of the signing of the Afghanistan Compact to recognize all the Canadian women and men working in Afghanistan. The military, diplomats, police, including the RCMP, development and aid workers continue the noble Canadian tradition of taking an active role in bringing stability and peace to areas that have seen turmoil and upheaval.

We are there with 36 other nations at the request of the democratically elected government of Afghanistan and as part of a UN sanctioned and NATO led mission to help build a stable democratic and self-sufficient society.

Canada's overall objectives are being achieved on three fronts: security, development and governance.

Our troops and all Canadians in Afghanistan deserve our support as they work to bring security and democracy to that country.

I know that members of the House join me in saluting them.

National Ethnic Press
Statements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

John Cannis Scarborough Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, last Friday I attended the 30th anniversary of the National Ethnic Press of Canada celebration. Its president, Mr. Thomas Saras, and the organization dedicated the evening in recognition of our Canadian military on its proud history and commending members of the military on the excellent work they do both within Canada and on the international front.

The national ethnic press is a vitally important and essential media organization. Given the diversity of our country, it plays a vital role in informing Canadians from coast to coast to coast of all that is happening in our country and from all corners of the world. That is but one of many reasons that it deserves the government's support.

In closing, I want to take this opportunity to congratulate Mr. Thomas Saras, his entire executive and the national ethnic press for 30 successful years and wish them many more successful years in the future.

Canadian Forces
Statements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Lynne Yelich Blackstrap, SK

Mr. Speaker, recently I completed my sixth annual winter tour of my constituency. Over a three week period I met with constituents in coffee shops and town halls during which the worst blizzard in a half a century struck. As author Wallace Stegner, who knew Saskatchewan weather well, said, “you don't get out of the wind, but learn to lean against it”.

Although the mail did not go through, Blackstrap constituents did, braving the cold to meet me where they demonstrated the way they lean, in telling our soldiers how much they appreciate them by signing Blackstrap's banner in support of our troops. We filled six banners with names and places. These banners will go to our troops deployed in Afghanistan.

Blackstrap residents are sending a message to the Canadian armed forces thanking them for their commitment to world security and democratic development. Our troops' tireless efforts are helping Afghanistan to rebuild, one school at a time. Canada has reclaimed its place on the world stage.

Michel G. Bergeron
Statements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, during the XVI International AIDS Conference, media attention focused on an innovative product to prevent the spread of the virus: microbicides, a kind of invisible condom filled with a prophylactic gel and designed to be used by women.

During the conference and later on at the Université Laval's Infectiology Research Centre, I had the honour of meeting the centre's founder and director, a pioneer in the field of microbicides, Dr. Michel Bergeron.

Today, I would like to pay tribute to this outstanding researcher, who won the prestigious Wilder Penfield prize in 2005. I would like to thank this visionary for giving women effective protection against the spread of AIDS. Like the World Health Organization, Dr. Bergeron recognizes that effective prevention depends on developing a method that women can use and control.

I would like to congratulate Dr. Bergeron and thank him for his passion and determination. Congratulations also to his entire team.

Immigrants
Statements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Nina Grewal Fleetwood—Port Kells, BC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday Statistics Canada released a report highlighting that the financial situation of new immigrants showed no improvement from 1992 to 2004. This should come as no surprise given that the Liberals were in power. Despite a lot of talk, they just did not get the job done.

While the Liberals froze assistance to help new immigrants read and write for over 12 years and voted against increased funding, we have committed $307 million in settlement funding to help newcomers integrate and excel in Canada. We have cut the right of permanent residence fee in half. We have granted almost 11,000 off-campus work permits to international students. We committed $18 million to establish an agency to address the assessment and recognition of foreign credentials.

When it comes to new Canadians, our government cares and we show we care by delivering real results.

Steven Truscott
Statements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Steckle Huron—Bruce, ON

Mr. Speaker, on September 19, 1959 in the Goderich, Ontario courthouse, Justice Ferguson sentenced Steven Truscott to death. On that day nearly 50 years ago, a child's innocence was stolen and a cloud settled over the Canadian justice system that remains still.

I can remember as I listened live to the sentence. In the years that followed my belief that a miscarriage of justice had occurred grew in leaps and bounds. Public concerns grew equally until finally on October 28, 2004 the Liberal justice minister said that there was reason to believe that a miscarriage of justice may have occurred. With this he referred the matter to the Ontario Court of Appeal.

Earlier today on live national television the court began the process of hearing this matter. I am optimistic that the five justices considering this case will see that there is indeed reason to believe that Mr. Truscott was wrongfully convicted.

I wish Mr. Truscott and his family well as they enter into this process. I look forward to a day when Steven can wake up for the first time in half a century an innocent man.

Afghanistan
Statements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Steven Blaney Lévis—Bellechasse, QC

Mr. Speaker, an Afghan I spoke to last week in Kandahar said, “We have made a lot of progress in the past few years, and with your help, we can succeed. If you leave, we will have to start all over again.”

I saw our Canadian troops, men and women who have bravely travelled to the far reaches of the world to lend the Afghan people a helping hand. Fathers, mothers, sons and daughters have left their loved ones to secure an area marked by years of conflict, to help the Afghan people take charge of their own future and live in safety.

The road is long and difficult. Without our support and the help of the 36 coalition countries, Afghans will return to the middle ages and a regime of terror that has already begun to spread to North America.

Today, I pay homage to the courage of the civilian and military personnel who are risking their lives to defend peace in Afghanistan. They fill me with pride. To me, they are true Canadian heroes.

Harold Elliott
Statements by Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, I bring to the attention of all my colleagues in the House of Commons one of Canada's greatest citizens and one of our bravest heroes, Mr. Harold Elliott of Eastern Passage, Nova Scotia.

Harold Elliott is going to receive from the Ambassador of France la Légion d'honneur, France's highest honour, for his efforts in World War II.

Mr. Elliott was born in that wonderful community of Happy Adventure, Newfoundland. He now resides in Eastern Passage, Nova Scotia.

During the war he signed up as an underage recruit. He served in the Battle of the Bulge, a member of the only Canadian contingent to do so. He was severely wounded in Normandy, severely wounded in Germany, and spent several years in hospital in Britain and in Montreal. He was a former police officer and police chief in Ontario and Alberta. He now resides in Nova Scotia.

Soon he will be receiving this very great award from the people of France. To Harold Elliott and to all veterans, it is we who salute them and we congratulate Harold on his great award.

Druide Laboratories
Statements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Bernard Patry Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to salute the efforts that a company from Pointe-Claire, Quebec, Laboratoires Druide, is making to create sustainable jobs and reduce unemployment in Kabul, Afghanistan.

With financial support from CIDA's industrial cooperation program, Druide and an Afghan partner have set up a new plant to manufacture liquid soaps for personal and household use. And in keeping with Druide's environmentally friendly approach, the plant is producing certified organic products.

The Canadian-Afghan joint venture, called Florance, currently employs eight Afghan women and eight Afghan men and could expand in the short term.

I want to congratulate CIDA and Druide on their social involvement, which may seem minimal compared to the huge needs in Afghanistan, but is nonetheless extremely important.

Richard Gravel
Statements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Caroline St-Hilaire Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, QC

Mr. Speaker, this evening, many people will gather to mark the retirement of Richard Gravel, a community police officer from Longueuil and resident of the riding of Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher. He will retire after 30 years of service as a police officer. For 23 years, he worked on preventing crime in schools, the community, homes and businesses by responding to the needs of those sectors and providing citizens with the support they needed.

Today, Longueuil, its residents, community agencies and schools are saying farewell to a friend, confidant and protector.

Richard Gravel is known for his professionalism, discipline and devotion. He is an extremely endearing person who always inspired appreciation and respect from the public and his police officer colleagues.

I would like to take this opportunity to express to Officer Gravel how proud I am to represent him in the House of Commons and, on behalf of the people of Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, I wish him a retirement full of happy times with his loved ones.