House of Commons Hansard #134 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was workers.

Topics

Equal Voice
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, today I rise to offer my support to the Equal Voice Canada challenge. Canadians want women elected in numbers equal to men in the House of Commons.

I am proud of our NDP history. The first woman elected to this House was a social democrat. The NDP is the only party to pass a comprehensive strategy to elect women.

Women are needed in the House of Commons to bring the issues of their communities to the fore. Women's voices change the political agenda. All parties need clear political will, leadership and real measures to elect women, 50% women in their parties and in the House of Commons.

Women and men in the NDP have shown this leadership. Our NDP caucus is 41% women now, a historic high. We need another 10%, however, to reach our goal and we are headed there. I can feel the difference. We do things differently.

Why will the Liberals and Conservatives not do things differently? I am sure that they could put women first, as the NDP has done, and if they could do it, the entire House of Commons, in fact Canada, would be better for it.

Might I add that the NDP's initiative in support of real electoral reform could help us all get there.

Ukraine
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Goldring Edmonton East, AB

Mr. Speaker, 15 years ago Ukrainians overwhelmingly chose to once again become an independent nation. The following day Canada, under the leadership of our prime minister, the Right Hon. Brian Mulroney, was the first country to recognize the newly sovereign Ukraine.

This Wednesday night, the Order of Kniaz Yaroslav the Wise is being awarded to the Right Hon. Brian Mulroney by Ukrainian President Victor Yushchenko for Mr. Mulroney's “defining personal role in Canada's recognition of the independence of Ukraine and considerable contribution to the development of Ukrainian-Canadian relationships”.

Building upon the foundation of independence, the Ukrainian people have steadily strengthened their democratic institutions.

I wish to congratulate the Right Hon. Brian Mulroney on receiving this honour and the people of Ukraine for the great accomplishment 15 years ago, as well as for their continued determination to embrace their future within the world of democratic nations.

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Nancy Karetak-Lindell Nunavut, NU

Mr. Speaker, while the 25th anniversary of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms is a happy and proud occasion for all Canadians, it is unfortunate that the Conservative government does not share in the enthusiasm for a document which enshrines our rights and protects all Canadians.

Time after time the charter has come under attack by Conservative members of Parliament who view this vital document as a roadblock rather than an expression of the values that place Canada among the most progressive nations in the world.

It is sad when the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court is forced to publicly defend the charter since the current Minister of Justice and his government seem unwilling to stand against those who attack our judiciary and scrap the vital programs which provide necessary accessibility to our justice system.

The official opposition reaffirms its support for the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and looks forward to the day when the Government of Canada respects the rights of all Canadians as enshrined in the charter.

Human Rights
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Colin Mayes Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Mr. Speaker, human rights are the foundation of Canadian values. Some Canadians believe that Canada defined human rights, but quite the contrary, human rights define Canada.

People from all over the world came to Canada to escape political oppression, religious discrimination and the lack of opportunity in their homelands. These settlers of our country defined our rights and values, how our society should be structured with law and order and the freedom for all citizens to pursue their individual enterprise.

Sadly, the people who met these settlers, the first peoples of this land, were not extended the same freedoms of this new Canada. The Indian Act discriminated against the first peoples of this land. The new Canada tried to change the culture and language of these first peoples.

Our government, led by our Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, has tabled Bill C-44 which would amend section 67 of the Canadian Human Rights Act and once and for all avail the same rights to Canada's aboriginal people that non-aboriginal people have enjoyed since Confederation.

I ask all members to support the bill to remedy this injustice to aboriginal people.

Patriation of the Constitution
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Vivian Barbot Papineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, 25 years ago today, a constitution was forcibly imposed on Quebec.

At the time, with the exception of Louis Duclos, the federal member for Montmorency—whose name should go down in history—the members of this House from Quebec voted in favour of that law, demonstrating that defending their own people took second place for them. Fortunately, now there are Bloc Québécois members, for whom Quebec comes first.

Our predecessors fought for recognition of our people and equality for Canada's two founding peoples. Instead, Canada imposed its Constitution on Quebec. Today, the ball is in the federalists' court. We, the Quebec sovereignists, want all the powers of a sovereign nation. Until then, we will take back all the powers Quebec can get. Quebeckers have tasted freedom, and anyone who tastes that fruit can never have enough of it.

Senate Appointment Consultations Legislation
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Guy Lauzon Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry, ON

Mr. Speaker, today we are celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The charter includes democratic rights for each and every Canadian citizen.

I would like to speak about Bill C-43 today. Bill C-43 is an act to allow electors to choose whom they would like to represent them in the Senate. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms includes democratic rights for all Canadian citizens. Why then should there be any questions in regard to Bill C-43?

Canadians from coast to coast to coast should have the democratic right to have their say on who sits in the Senate of Canada. Bill C-43 would give them that right.

I call on all 307 of my colleagues to support the bill, to modernize our democracy so that our great country will be a true reflection of what its citizens desire.

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Brian Murphy Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

Mr. Speaker, it is appalling that the Prime Minister and his Minister of Justice missed the conference marking the 25th anniversary of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The Charter is an integral part of the Canadian identity. As part of our Constitution, it is the fundamental law of the land. It is a basic guarantee of the rights and freedoms of all Canadians. Because of the Charter, we can all live in peace in this great, beautiful country we call Canada, knowing that our government has the duty and the responsibility to protect us against any threat to our fundamental rights and freedoms. In exercising these rights and freedoms, we have built a society that has become a great place to live.

The Charter protects us against abuses. Everyone in this House has a duty to defend it against those who would weaken it and infringe on our rights and freedoms.

Aboriginal Affairs
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Rod Bruinooge Winnipeg South, MB

Mr. Speaker, on this the 25th anniversary of the creation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, I am very happy to note this government's significant progress on human rights issues, particularly the rights of aboriginal people.

For instance, we have introduced Bill C-44, An Act to repeal section 67 of the Canadian Human Rights Act. Bill C-44 proposes a fair, realistic approach to ending nearly 30 years of discrimination that, in many cases, prevented aboriginal people living and working on reserves from filing complaints under the Canadian Human Rights Act.

I also want to talk about the progress we are making on the difficult question of matrimonial real property on reserve. This issue is a serious injustice that often creates suffering for first nations women and children.

Under the guidance of Ms. Wendy Grant-John, a consultative process to identify a legislation solution was undertaken last fall. This process has been completed and Ms. Grant-John's report will be available shortly.

I am very proud of these initiatives and we intend to continue working to ensure that the human rights of all Canadians are respected.

Trade
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Brian Masse Windsor West, ON

Mr. Speaker, today I call upon the Minister of Industry and the Minister of Labour to move and implement and act to protect Canadians.

The most important thing we need to do is to protect jobs against the Korea trade deal that is happening right now. We have to do that with a coalition to work on the bankruptcy protection act

This legislation has been available and the government has yet to move on it. Between 10,000 to 20,000 workers go each year without their wages being paid and their pensions protected. The government needs to move on the act right away.

It is necessary because the Minister of Industry has not paid due respect to the manufacturing industry. We have lost 200,000 jobs in Ontario and Quebec, and the minister has done nothing to enact a strategy.

We call today to make sure that there will be a strategy like the NDP green auto strategy that would protect jobs and make sure vehicles are manufactured in Canada, and second, that the minister will actually make sure that the Korea trade deal does not affect Canadian auto workers and that we have a fair trade deal.

A fair trade will only make sure that we will strengthen our job protection for Canadian workers as opposed to what the government is doing by offshoring our jobs. With the current budgetary allocation, it is actually sending Canadian money overseas. That is wrong and that is why General Motors is cancelling announcements in Canada right now.

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Anthony Rota Nipissing—Timiskaming, ON

Mr. Speaker, today we are celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It is a milestone in our history that all Canadians can take pride in.

Since that historic day in 1982, the Charter has become one of the strongest symbols of Canadian identity.

The rights and freedoms that are protected by the charter are guaranteed to all Canadians regardless of their age, race, gender, national or ethnic origin, religion, mental or physical ability or sexual orientation. Not all nations have this privilege.

Though many of us take these rights and freedoms for granted sometimes, we must always try to live up to the standards that we have set for ourselves.

As Canadians, we have a responsibility to pause to reflect on the influence and legacy of this day, and especially to celebrate one of the greatest Canadian achievements.

Abitibi-Témiscamingue International Film Festival
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Marc Lemay Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, on April 11, 2007, the Festival du Cinéma International en Abitibi-Témiscamingue was awarded the Mercuriades prize, given by the Quebec federation of chambers of commerce.

The festival distinguished itself in the leisure and culture category for the outstanding quality of its content and the originality of its related events, by highlighting the talent and resources of Quebec society.

Over the past 25 years, the Festival du Cinéma International en Abitibi-Témiscamingue has become invaluable to those who work in the film industry, both in Quebec and internationally. The festival presents films from around the globe to an audience of devoted movie goers. The visionary founders of this regional film festival did the right thing, and it has become a force to be reckoned with.

On behalf of my Bloc Québécois colleagues, I would like to congratulate Jacques Matte, Louis Dallaire and Guy Parent, the founders of the Festival du Cinéma International en Abitibi-Témiscamingue, who have made it the success it is today.

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
Statements By Members

April 17th, 2007 / 2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Stéphane Dion Saint-Laurent—Cartierville, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to lead that party that, 25 years ago, gave Canadians the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The very essence of the Charter affirms that equality among all Canadians—men, women and children—is the keystone of our democracy.

Well before the charter, Canadian women struggled to see their rights recognized, including the right to run for office, but now, having this right is not enough.

The fight for equality starts at the heart of our democratic institutions. We need more women in Parliament and in government to ensure that the voices of all Canadians are heard. The Liberal Party is committed to that.

Member for Sherbrooke
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Luc Harvey Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday we learned that the member for Sherbrooke used the resources of the House of Commons for commercial advertising.

In fact, in the past few days 270 residents of his riding received mail addressed to them from the office of the Bloc member. When they opened it, they found a brochure from a Sherbrooke business. This was paid for by Canadian taxpayers.

After repeatedly denouncing the Liberal culture of entitlement, and patting themselves on the back for asking more than 450 questions about the sponsorship scandal although they could not put an end to it, we have the Bloc Québécois using taxpayers' money for business purposes. The last thing Quebeckers want is a windbag misusing taxpayers' money.

Quebeckers can be reassured. Thanks to the Conservative government, the Federal Accountability Act ensures that there is greater transparency and will help Canadians regain confidence in the integrity of the democratic process.

Women and Political Participation
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the low participation rate of women in politics is a blemish on democracy in Canada and Quebec. As democratic people, we cannot sit idly by; we all have an obligation to take action immediately.

Women compose 33% of the Bloc Québécois caucus, making it the federal party in Quebec with the highest number of women elected in the last election.

But that is not enough, especially since the Conservatives, through their inaction, are decreasing the percentage of women in this House, lowering it to 48th in the world, as the multi-partisan organization Equal Voice points out.

The organization also says, “Political parties can be catalysts for change. All that is required is political will on the part of party leaders to make a difference”.

The Bloc Québécois has that political will and we are committed to increasing the number of female candidates from our party in the next election. In the spirit of a truly representative democracy, we are challenging the other parties to do the same.

Government Programs
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville
Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Law Commission, the court challenges program, federal funding for legal aid, and a fair and non-partisan judicial selection process, all cancelled by the Prime Minister in an attempt to undermine the charter.

Why does the Prime Minister not use this historic day to correct his mistakes and reinstate these measures that are so important to the integrity of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms?