House of Commons Hansard #128 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

Canada Games
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Luc Malo Verchères—Les Patriotes, QC

Mr. Speaker, in February I attended the Canada Games held in Whitehorse and I noted that the young athletes representing Quebec were exceptionally dynamic and energetic and united by an intense sense of solidarity. Their enthusiasm and efforts enabled them to dominate the medal standings: they won 52 gold, 376 silver and 34 bronze, for a total of 122 medals.

Once again they proved that, in sports, Quebec is a nation to be reckoned with and capable of taking responsibility for its own dreams and ambitions. I congratulate all the athletes who defended the Quebec colours so brilliantly and I would like to salute the chef de mission, France Vigneault, as well as all the members of her team who did an outstanding job. I also wish to thank Yukoners for the warm and friendly welcome extended to the competitors and supporters.

Human Rights
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Kevin Sorenson Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, today I welcome Ms. Nazanin Afshin-Jam to Ottawa. She is a singer, songwriter, model and former Miss Canada and most impressively, a human rights advocate.

Recently she successfully led a campaign to free an Iranian teenager who was condemned to death for defending herself and her niece from attempted rape by three men.

Ms. Afshin-Jam is in Ottawa to testify before the Subcommittee on International Human Rights tomorrow. Her testimony is important and Canadians know that our government is diligently working to protect the human rights of Iranians.

Just last week, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration granted asylum to an Iranian jailed for demonstrating against his government.

In light of the efforts and the numerous documented stories of political persecution in Iran, I urge all hon. members to take notice of the mass injustice in Iran and the need for significant change.

Action for Neighbourhood Change
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Ken Boshcoff Thunder Bay—Rainy River, ON

Mr. Speaker, for the past two years, Action for Neighbourhood Change has been supporting the efforts of residents in five Canadian neighbourhoods to improve the quality of life in their community.

The program has been led by the United Way, in partnership with the Caledon Institute, the Tamarack Institute and the National Film Board. The Liberal government recognized the value of this initiative and provided financial support through three federal departments.

Action for Neighbourhood Change has been exploring how citizens can take the lead in revitalizing their neighbourhoods and what kind of investment and support is needed to succeed.

The Simpson-Ogden area in Thunder Bay is one of the participating neighbourhoods and the positive results are clear: a beautification campaign is ongoing; a strong sense of community pride has emerged; and residents have begun projects to inspect substandard housing, to develop anti-crime programs, to expand arts and environmental programs for teens and to enhance after school programs.

This program is too important to let it fade away. I call on the minority government to revisit its budget and help address this vital need for northwestern Ontario.

Canada-U.S. Relations
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Merrifield Yellowhead, AB

Mr. Speaker, the United States is Canada's largest trading partner with over $1.5 billion of trade per day between our two countries. In fact, 40 of the 50 states rely on Canada as their number one buyer of products.

With the objective of promoting a stronger relationship with our southern neighbour, the Canada-United States interparliamentary group hosted today, with the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, a meeting with six congressional aides. They work for Senators Collins, Snowe, and Sununu, and Congressmen Michaud, Allen and Lynch. Their names are Carol, Gail, Elizabeth, Rosemary, Dan and James. They are in Ottawa to learn more about Canada-U.S. relations.

As Canadians, we know a significant amount about our southern neighbour and it is great to see U.S. leaders showing an interest in their northern neighbour. It is by sitting down and sharing information that we build strong and lasting friendships and are able to create an even better and more cooperative working environment.

Winter Sports
Statements By Members

March 26th, 2007 / 2:10 p.m.

NDP

Dennis Bevington Western Arctic, NT

Mr. Speaker, I would like to devote my statement today to the athletes of the Northwest Territories. Though we are few in number, the people of the NWT are strong in heart and our athletes prove it.

Congratulations to Brendan Green of Hay River who won gold at the Canada Winter Games in Whitehorse and who this weekend won gold and silver at the National Biathlon Championships and Sarah Daitch of Fort Smith who, by winning double gold at Haywood Noram/Madshus Sprints, earned a spot on Canada's team to the Nordic World Ski Championships in Sapporo, Japan. These are just two of the NWTs great cross-country skiers who follow in the tradition of Inuvik's Olympians Sharon and Shirley Firth.

Also in cross-country, Thomsen d'Hont and Mike Argue brought back a silver medal to Yellowknife in the 1.2 kilometre team sprint from the Canadian Championships in Quebec City.

In curling I congratulate Jamie Koe's Yellowknife rink for its great showing at the Tim Horton's Brier in Hamilton and particularly Mark Whitehead who took home the Ross Harstone Trophy.

Northerners love our winter sports be they curling, dogsledding, Arctic sports--

Winter Sports
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Vancouver Centre.

Housing
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Hedy Fry Vancouver Centre, BC

Mr. Speaker, the number one priority in my city of Vancouver is housing. Why? Property values have skyrocketed in the last decade. Last year alone they went up 24%. The problem is that incomes did not go up 24%. Low and middle income families cannot afford a home or rent a place in which to bring up their kids. Yet the Conservative government did not even mention the word housing in its recent family orientated budget.

To add insult to injury, B.C. will receive no equalization payments this year or next. Why? We are considered wealthy because we have high property values.

The script could have been written by Monty Python, but it is too tragic.

B.C. Conservative ministers have nothing to say. They have either no influence or they are woefully out of touch with reality.

The new Conservative government certainly does not have the same priorities as most Vancouver families.

European Union
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde La Pointe-de-l'Île, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is with great admiration that the Bloc Québécois acknowledges the 50th anniversary of the signing of the treaties of Rome, which served as the basis for the unification of Europe. These 50 years of construction of the European Union, which changed the face of Europe, have banished the spectre of war, and opened up a new dimension of exchange and equality among peoples, regardless of their numbers, culture or language.

We wish Europe long life and the ability to face the many economic and political challenges of the future. As Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, said in her speech yesterday:

The dream of previous generations has come true in the unification of Europe. Our history reminds us that we must protect this for the good of future generations. We must always renew the political shape of Europe in keeping with the times.

Slave Trade Abolition
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett St. Paul's, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to commemorate the bicentennial of the abolition of slavery.

The British parliamentary act that abolished the slave trade was the first global human rights legislation impacting the situation of Africans and other enslaved peoples.

Spadina Museum: Historic House & Garden in my riding of St. Paul's regularly hosts events to educate Torontonians and tourists alike about the lives of former slaves who escaped to Canada via the underground railroad. I remember Dawn Roach's moving performance of Mary Pipkin, a former slave who escaped to Canada and came to work with the Austin family at Spadina House in St. Paul's.

The horror and barbarism of the slave trade should never be forgotten. The contributions of former slaves and their descendants in my riding and across the country continue to be celebrated.

Dr. Ofua Cooper, Albert Wiggan, Kim and David Watkins, Clifton Joseph, Starr Jacobs and Reverend Owen MacPherson are a few of the amazing Canadians who will ensure that we never forget.

Aboriginal Affairs
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Rod Bruinooge Winnipeg South, MB

Mr. Speaker, on March 22, World Water Day, the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development tabled a report in the House that detailed the improvements that have been made to water quality on reserve over the past 12 months.

One year ago, the minister announced a plan of action that would ensure that all first nation communities would have access to clean, safe drinking water.

Twelve months later, the government is very proud to note that the number of high-risk water systems in first nations communities has been reduced from 193 to 97 and of the 21 communities identified as a priority last year, 7 have had their water problems addressed.

Canada's new government recognizes the vital importance of water as a resource to be protected and as a critical component of safe, healthy, sustainable communities. We have made significant progress. We will continue to deliver results on water and on other issues that continue to affect the quality of life for aboriginal people in the country.

Child Care
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville
Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the former Liberal government had a plan that it negotiated with all of the provinces to have child care and early childhood learning as a national policy in Canada. It was developed under the leadership of the member for York Centre.

We know now, more than ever because there was a report released by Dr. Mustard, that Canada needs to catch up so much if we compare it with other countries.

Why on earth did the Prime Minister and the Conservative government cut this plan?

Child Care
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, this year the government will transfer a record amount to the provinces for early childhood development and early childhood learning and education, as well as additional moneys for the creation of child care spaces.

At the same time, the government is putting $2.5 billion into direct child care payments to Canadian parents. I know that the Leader of the Liberal Party wants to take that away, but that is what we believe should happen.

Child Care
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville
Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, only the Prime Minister and the Conservative government think that income support is the equivalent to child care for families. It is only they who think that child care comes from the mailbox.

This being said, we will try to fix the mess they created through a claw back against the poor in the way they framed their system.

The fact is that this year the Conservatives only invested $250 million for child care when we were planning $1 billion. Is the Prime Minister able to increase it to $1 billion to have a real national plan for child care in Canada?

Child Care
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, only the current leader of the Liberal Party could think that taking money away from Canadian parents is a good thing for children. That is what he told the National Post that he wants to do in October. That is wrong. It is wrong for Canadian families, wrong for parents and wrong for children. It is just plain wrong.

Child Care
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville
Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the government just has to stop the claw back at the expense of the poor families of our country. It is what it is doing with the claw back on child care for the people in need. This is shameful.

Let us now talk about families. In Quebec alone, the Government of Quebec has a $270 million shortfall because it withdrew from the national child care plan, which had been negotiated with the Government of Quebec.

Can he promise to ensure that the Government of Quebec and the other provincial governments will see their commitment honoured when they sign these agreements? These agreements have to be honoured. I am asking for this on behalf of all the provinces.