House of Commons Hansard #115 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was tax.

Topics

Women's Curling
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Casson Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, Canada's women's curling championship, the Scotties Tournament of Hearts, is taking place this week at the Enmax Centre in Lethbridge Alberta.

Lethbridge hosted the Tournament of Hearts 20 years ago. It did a terrific job then, and from all accounts, it is doing it again this year.

Over 500 volunteers have come forward to help host the event. The host committee has rolled out the red carpet for curlers and fans alike. Enthusiastic crowds are cheering on provincial and territorial champions as they compete to become Team Canada, compete for the honour to proudly wear the maple leaf on the world stage.

Along with the great curling there are a lot of other events taking place during the week. On Sunday the Sandra Schmirler telethon hit a one day record by raising over $140,000 to help sick kids. This coming Friday has been designated a red Friday to show support for our troops. Every day and every night the HeartStop Lounge is rocking with great local talent.

I invite everyone to drop in, or tune in, to the great city of Lethbridge, Alberta for all the excitement at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts.

Steven Truscott
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Brenda Chamberlain Guelph, ON

Mr. Speaker, people across this country have expressed strong support for Steven Truscott in his efforts to clear his name. Those in his community of Guelph are no exception.

People like Alice Hebden, a resident of Guelph for 80 years, knew Steven when he was at the Ontario Training School for Boys. She described Steven as kind, good natured, and someone who would do anything for anyone. During their time together at the school, Alice grew to love Steven like a son.

Throughout her decades as cook for the school, Alice saw so many troubled youths, but Steven stood out as someone special. When she passed away two years ago at the age of 99, Alice still believed in Steven and in his innocence. To her dying day she stood with Steven in his fight.

Stories like these are not rare for people who know Steven.

I would like to thank those in my riding for their continued efforts and the support that they have shown throughout this struggle for justice.

Jean Lemire
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, for a number of months now, the name of Jean Lemire has been on everyone's lips. I want to pay tribute to this man from Drummondville who recently won two major awards.

He was named personality of the year in the human sciences, science and technology category at La Presse—Radio-Canada's Gala Excellence. Reader's Digest named him Hero of the Year for 2006 in the environment category.

The Jean Lemire team went on an important 430 day mission to the Antarctic peninsula on the sailboat the Sedna IV. This voyage allowed them to study the phenomenon of climate change.

The awareness raising and information gathering done by Jean Lemire and his team, as well as by thousands of experts, brings home to us how important this issue is.

My colleagues in the Bloc Québécois and I would like to congratulate and thank Jean Lemire and his team from the Sedna IV for their contribution to science.

Child Sexual Exploitation
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, an epidemic is unfolding in this country in which thousands of our children, mainly girls, are forced into the sex trade just to survive.

The news out of Winnipeg today should be an eye opener for all of us. It is called survivor sex. It is replicated across the country. It is a tragedy spawned in poverty and desperation that is thriving on the inaction of the current government and past federal governments.

The Conservatives loudly proclaim they want to end child sexual exploitation yet yesterday they voted, as did unbelievably the Bloc, against an NDP anti-poverty strategy that would help these girls and their families out of poverty and desperation. Canadians are outraged. What are those members thinking?

Instead of cutting back on women's programs, shelters and services to help children and youth out of this hell, the Conservatives need to make a major injection of funds directly to victim outreach, shelter and prevention services. Instead of burying their heads in ideology they have to provide support to low income Canadians that will keep this epidemic from spreading.

The death of a 14 year old in Winnipeg has shone a spotlight on this deplorable situation. We dare not turn away.

Canadian Forces
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Brian Storseth Westlock—St. Paul, AB

Mr. Speaker, while today may not be red Friday, it is still a day to honour and remember our Canadian troops who risk their lives to defend and protect Canada.

My riding of Westlock—St. Paul is privileged to house Canada's top tactical fighter base, 4 Wing Cold Lake. it is known as the home of the fighter pilot and hosts Exercise Maple Flag, a six week international air combat exercise that takes place in May and attracts more than 5,000 participants globally.

As a vital component of the Canadian Forces, make no mistake that 4 Wing's success could not be achieved if it were not for the unsurpassed dedication of the brave men and women who lay their lives on the line defending Canadian airspace, flying search and rescue missions and providing aid during disasters such as floods and ice storms.

I thank those brave men and women for defending Canadian values at home and abroad. I thank them for creating a better and safer future for our children. I thank them for helping to restore peace around the globe. I thank them for risking their lives to save ours.

May we celebrate red Fridays today, tomorrow and every day.

International Mother Language Day
Statements By Members

February 21st, 2007 / 2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Sukh Dhaliwal Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured today to acknowledge and celebrate International Mother Language Day. This day was formally established by a unanimous vote at the 30th general conference of UNESCO in 1999 and celebrations have occurred on February 21 since then.

This is a day to acknowledge the contribution languages, including sign language, make to a diverse and multicultural society in Canada. Many of the 6,500 languages in the world are dying with the passing of the last generation who spoke them. We must work to preserve and celebrate our shared heritage. That is why I will be tabling a private member's bill today that calls on the government to establish a mother tongues day in Canada.

As a diverse and multicultural country that promotes these values around the world, it is vital that Canada take the lead in supporting these worthy initiatives.

Canadian Forces
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Russ Hiebert South Surrey—White Rock—Cloverdale, BC

Mr. Speaker, on January 28 a fundraising event was held in my riding to kick off the support our troops campaign to send packages, cards and letters of support to Canadian Forces serving in Afghanistan.

Books, Tim Hortons gift certificates and other items have been assembled into packages and are on their way to Kandahar. When I was in Afghanistan last month, I saw first-hand how much efforts such as these mean to our soldiers. Their rec centre is plastered with posters, banners and letters from Canadians. The kind of public support our troops see on the news and televised rallies through campaigns such as the support our troops initiative is appreciated more than we here in Canada realize.

I want to publicly recognize and commend Mr. Clifford Grant, the constituent who spearheaded this initiative and organizations such as the Rotary Club of White Rock, for their continued support of the Canadian Forces.

The pride we feel in our troops is no better expressed than through endeavours such as these.

Dairy Industry
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Bouchard Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

Mr. Speaker, in the past seven years, Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean has lost 194 dairy farms. The volume of dairy farms decreased by a third during this time. There are 398 farms left. In Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean, agriculture—dairy farming in particular—is a significant sector of the economy. It constitutes 47% of total farming revenues and jobs in the agriculture sector.

In order to boost this economic sector and protect the social and economic fabric of rural communities, the federal government must take action quickly because according to the UPA: “Quebec loses two farms with every day that goes by”. This cannot continue.

The minister is trying to establish programs from coast to coast for the agriculture sector. By doing so, the minister is showing through his stubbornness that he is not very flexible, and he is putting at risk thousands of dairy farms in Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean and in Quebec.

Autism
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Mike Lake Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont, AB

Mr. Speaker, today I need to address an issue of political gamesmanship taken too far.

My 11-year-old son, Jaden, has autism. Bill C-304 purports to help families struggling financially when a child is diagnosed with autism. However, this bill is simply a political manipulation.

The Liberal member knows full well that this is a bill he could never have supported when he was in government. If this bill were to pass, autism would be the one and only disease or disorder named in the Canada Health Act. Cancer is not named. Neither is diabetes nor cardiovascular disease.

The member knows that only the provinces can act on the provision of ABA treatment if we are to maintain the integrity of the Canada Health Act. Why in most cases are the provinces not taking urgent action? That is a question to which voters should demand an answer from their provincial governments.

What the member does not get is that this is not an appropriate wedge issue to exploit for political gain. These are real people with real challenges who are desperate for real solutions. Bill C-304 does nothing but give false hope to families who deserve more than to be treated as pawns in a political game.

International Mother Language Day
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Raymonde Folco Laval—Les Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, today marks the sixth celebration of International Mother Language Day. More than 6,000 languages are spoken around the world. In addition to our two official languages, French and English, Canadians speak more than 100 languages altogether.

In my riding of Laval—Les Îles, 60% of the population speaks French as their mother language, for 10% it is English, and 30% speak another language.

To my constituents and to all citizens of this wonderful country, let us join together to celebrate our diversity and our culture. I hope, with globalization, that Canada will take full advantage of its diversity, which will enhance its ability to communicate and be more competitive in the global economy.

Child Sexual Exploitation
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Joy Smith Kildonan—St. Paul, MB

Mr. Speaker, a provincial inquest this week in Manitoba was told that literally hundreds of vulnerable Winnipeg children as young as eight years old were selling their bodies to adult men for money, drugs and even food and shelter.

Detective Sergeant Coates of the Winnipeg Police Service was called to testify at the inquest of Tracia Owen, a 14 year old who started working the streets in the months before her suicide in August 2005. The teen hanged herself with a rope tied to the overhead door of a garage used by prostitutes.

Coates candidly admitted that most heinous sex offenders, adults who prey on young children, go largely unpunished because police lack the resources and ability to go after them. He also stated at the inquest that there needs to be a political will to go after these johns. Our government has that will.

I call on all opposition parties to support our government on the age of protection legislation and other justice legislation that will protect the innocent youth of our country. It is our obligation as Canadian parliamentarians to protect our children.

Northwest Territories
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Dennis Bevington Western Arctic, NT

Mr. Speaker, Canada's north has been called the last great bastion of colonial rule. While there have been some transfers of authority to the northerners, the north still lacks many of the essential powers that the provinces enjoy. In reality, the north is very much under Ottawa's thumb and that thumb belongs to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development.

In 1996 I co-chaired the Northwest Territories constitutional development steering committee that was tasked with developing a replacement for the current constitution, the federal Northwest Territories Act. The final recommendation from us was that constitutional development and finalization of aboriginal land and self-government claims should proceed together.

This recommendation was based on the fact that the Canadian Constitution protects both the right to public government and aboriginal inherent right of self-government. Since we have made that recommendation, there has been little progress on the right to public government in the Northwest Territories.

Because of this lack of progress, this weekend aboriginal and community leaders and I will be joint hosting a public forum in Yellowknife on NWT constitutional development.

Peace Bridge Border Crossing
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

John Maloney Welland, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Buffalo and Fort Erie Public Bridge Authority operates the second busiest passenger vehicle crossing in Canada, the Peace Bridge.

In 2004 the governments of Canada and the United States announced a land pre-clearance project at the bridge in order to ease congestion while at the same time maintaining high security standards. In good faith and with the financial assistance of the Liberal border infrastructure program, the Peace Bridge authority has continued with its plans for this pilot project by designing space to accommodate clearance facilities on the Canadian side of the plaza for both Canada customs and United States pre-clearance. The launch of this pilot project would be a breakthrough at local border crossings, very similar to the efficient and safe U.S. pre-clearance at our major airports.

All this progress, yet one stumbling block still remains. When will the federal governments of Canada and the United States agree to implement border pre-clearance which was announced in 2004? Should Canada be unable to resolve these difficult legal and operational issues with the United States by this spring, the Peace Bridge must revert to a traditional plaza design. This would be a tremendous regressive step and a huge setback to our trade with the United States.

International Mother Language Day
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Richard Nadeau Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, International Mother Language Day, created during UNESCO's General Conference, was celebrated for the first time on February 21, 2000.

This celebration reminds us that mother languages “—are not only an essential part of humanity's cultural heritage, but the irreducible expression of human creativity and of its great diversity”.

This day serves as a tool for the promotion of linguistic diversity as well as the preservation of cultural pluralism.

On this February 21, 2007, I would like to remind the House of the dishonour done to the French language by the Conservative government. By adopting the National Defence Official Languages Program Transformation Model, it made a mockery of the right of thousands of men and women to work in their mother language.

Quebec will remember those francophone ministers who, rather than defending their mother language, chose to bow to the will of their leader.

Senator Jack Austin
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Stephen Owen Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour and a delight to rise in this House and turn toward the other place, and bid a fond adieu to Senator Jack Austin, who retires next week.

Senator Austin raises the bar for all parliamentarians: informed, reasoned, seasoned, articulate, and positive about all our country represents and what it can aspire to be.

From his humble beginnings at Harvard Law School, Jack has excelled as deputy minister of Energy, Mines and Resources, principal secretary to Prime Minister Trudeau, and then in Mr. Trudeau's cabinet as super minister for social policy involving 15 separate departments, and on to senior minister of British Columbia and government leader in the Senate in Prime Minister Martin's cabinet.

The key issues of Canadian policy have all benefited from Senator Austin's leadership: natural resources, aboriginal justice, our relationship to Asia, the Canada Health Act, and general good governance.

To all the hundreds of us who came to Ottawa bewildered by the majesty and confusion of it all, Jack is the mentor who stuck out as a class act.