House of Commons Hansard #37 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was c-31.

Topics

Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Statements By Members

December 13th, 2007 / 2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Mario Silva Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, 2008 marks the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has called on all countries to mark this anniversary by renewing their commitment to human rights throughout the world.

Let this task start first and foremost with the United Nations itself, which needs to deal with pressing issues like Darfur and genocide.

The often repeated one-sided resolutions against Israel to the exclusion of all others, such as Iran, undermine the General Assembly and the Human Rights Council, as well as diminish the UN's credibility, and this ultimately hurts the noble goal of universal human rights.

We need to all join in echoing the words of the UN Secretary-General when he says that countries should “promote the Declaration's ideals and principles of justice and equality for everyone”.

If universal human rights are to be enjoyed by all, then we must all do our part.

Bill C-482
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, last November I tabled Bill C-482 to amend the Official Languages Act. The amendments proposed by the Bloc Québécois would require the federal government to recognize Quebec's Charter of the French Language.

Yesterday, at the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, this bill was deemed votable by everyone except the Conservatives. Those who boast constantly about having recognized the Quebec nation refuse to even vote on a fundamental aspect of this very nation: the French language.

The Conservatives attempted to impede debate on the primacy of the French language by citing false constitutional arguments. In one fell swoop they clearly demonstrated that the motion adopted by this House on the Quebec nation is nothing but empty words and that the recognition is meaningless.

Recognition of the Quebec nation means respecting the primacy of Bill 101 in Quebec.

Poverty
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Tina Keeper Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, across my constituency of Churchill, and indeed the entire country, Canadians are united in their demands for immediate action to address poverty in this country.

The 30-50 plan recently unveiled by the Liberal leader will reduce the number of Canadians living below the poverty line by at least 30% and, more importantly, will cut the number of children living in poverty by half within five years.

It will improve the child tax benefit, help lift vulnerable seniors out of poverty by increasing the guaranteed income supplement, and create a “making work pay benefit” to lower the welfare wall and encourage personal success and independence.

When implemented, this approach will then, and only then, set Canada back on track toward a fair and just society.

United Nations Conference on Climate Change
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Joe Preston Elgin—Middlesex—London, ON

Mr. Speaker, when it comes to flip-flopping on climate change, the Liberal Party cannot escape the truth. In recognition of the Liberals' complete failure over 13 years to fight climate change, we are happy to continue awarding a special Liberal with the flip-flop of the day during the course of the current United Nations Conference on Climate Change taking place in Indonesia.

Today's award goes to Bob Rae, who said on November 2, 1979, “In my opinion, if we look at the record, the most hypocrites in this House are in the Liberal Party of Canada”.

Bob Rae also said on November 30, 1979, “It is amazing how the Liberal party at moments of convenience, and when they are looking for a policy and looking for a leader, suddenly latch on to an issue about which they have no coherent point of view at all”.

Bob Rae concluded by saying on July 10, 1980, “Nothing embarrasses the Liberals because they do not know the meaning of shame. They are without shame; they are shameless”.

This government could not agree more.

United Nations Conference on Climate Change
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Milliken Kingston and the Islands, ON

Order, please.

Pursuant to order made this morning, the House will adjourn this afternoon for the Christmas holidays.

I wish to advise hon. members that, as is the custom, I will be hosting a reception following private members' hour, whenever that might occur, in Room 216, to which all hon. members are invited.

Chalk River Nuclear Facilities
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, on Tuesday in this House, the Minister of Health said that a two or three day delay in the production of isotopes would affect more than 200,000 patients around the world.

Can the Minister of Health explain why his colleague, the Minister of Natural Resources, waited two days before informing him of the impending crisis? He waited two days and put 200,000 patients at risk.

Chalk River Nuclear Facilities
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka
Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement Minister of Health and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario

Mr. Speaker, of course when the government was informed of this situation, we took vigorous action to ensure the health and safety of Canadians.

When we heard about the situation at AECL being an unscheduled, prolonged shutdown, this government acted. We contacted over 800 hospitals and institutions. We ensured that triaging was taking place in the health care system.

This, we believe, has helped divert catastrophe until such time as the reactor will fire up and will deliver much needed isotopes for Canadians and for the rest of the world.

Chalk River Nuclear Facilities
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, one minister is not talking to the other. The same minister admitted that he only learned of the crisis two days after the Minister of Natural Resources. We are talking two days and 210,000 patients put in danger.

The left hand of the government does not know what the right hand is doing. Why did it take 48 hours for one minister to talk to the other in the middle of a national crisis?

Chalk River Nuclear Facilities
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I think the testimony on Bill C-38 indicates that this government and the ministers acted as quickly as possible upon learning the information.

The real question is why the deputy leader of the opposition does not listen to himself. He says this was a crisis, but as late as this Tuesday afternoon, he was still insisting the government should defer to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, to Ms. Keen, and not act at all. That is the position he is going to have to explain.

Chalk River Nuclear Facilities
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister well knows that this is entirely false. We worked in cooperation with the government to get this done.

Let me ask this. On Tuesday the Department of Justice told the nuclear regulator that it was not going to provide legal counsel on the Chalk River crisis. Why did the Minister of Justice withdraw legal services to the commission? Why did the government subvert the legal authority of the regulator? What message is the government trying to send to other federal regulators: “Watch out or we'll come after you too?”

Chalk River Nuclear Facilities
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Niagara Falls
Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the opposition has it wrong again. The Department of Justice continues to offer legal services to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.

What it did suggest, with respect to the Chalk River reactor, was it might be a good idea that it engage independent legal advice, so there would be no potential or conflict of interest. It seems to be a pretty reasonable proposition.

Chalk River Nuclear Facilities
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Omar Alghabra Mississauga—Erindale, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have independent advice that this is not true.

My question is for the Minister of Justice. It is clear that the government has deliberately been undermining the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. Incredibly, the justice department cutoff legal advice to the regulator on Monday, just before that act was introduced.

The minister ordered his officials to stop giving legal counsel or doing any work on the Chalk River research reactor. This is a clear violation of the minister's obligations. Is it the minister's intent to kill Canada's nuclear regulator?

Chalk River Nuclear Facilities
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Niagara Falls
Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, there were so many mistakes in that question I hardly know where to begin. The member is completely wrong.

Legal services continue to be provided to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. Inasmuch as there was a discussion with respect to the Chalk River reactor, the department gave the very sensible advice that it may want to contact independent legal advice with respect to that issue.

Why can those members not accept good advice?

Chalk River Nuclear Facilities
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Omar Alghabra Mississauga—Erindale, ON

Speaking of advice, Mr. Speaker, this week the Prime Minister cowardly attempted to undermine the credibility of the nuclear safety commissioner by accusing her of being a partisan hack, and the record shows she is not.

Ironically, the Prime Minister decided to overrule an independent and credible commissioner by relying on the advice of the Durham Conservative Riding Association's vice-president.

How can anyone have confidence in Canada's nuclear safety when the Prime Minister personally makes the decision and relies on the advice of partisan hacks?

Chalk River Nuclear Facilities
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, on Tuesday afternoon, the Liberal Party was attempting to defend the actions of Ms. Keen, which were going to put hundreds of thousands of people's health in jeopardy. That night, the Liberal Party completely abandoned Ms. Keen and passed the government's legislation. Yesterday, it continued to abandon her and passed the legislation through the Senate. Today, it is back to trying to defend the actions of Ms. Keen and the Nuclear Safety Commission.

The government's legislation has spoken clearly. It has passed. Canadians are going to get those—