House of Commons Hansard #136 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was afghanistan.

Topics

Youth Exchanges Canada
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Daniel Petit Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Mr. Speaker, tomorrow, 18 first-year students and two teachers from Saint-Pierre secondary school in my riding of Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles are flying to British Columbia as part of the Youth Exchanges Canada program put on by the Society for Educational Visits and Exchanges in Canada.

The exchange is between the Saint-Pierre school in Charlesbourg and the Ross Road school in North Vancouver, where there is a French immersion program. The students are well prepared for their trip and are in contact with their counterparts in British Columbia.

The students from North Vancouver came to Quebec City in the winter and enjoyed the hospitality they received from the Quebeckers, who hosted them for a week during Quebec City's winter carnival period. Now it is time for the students from Charlesbourg to spend a week with them from April 20 to 27.

I want to wish them a very good trip. I am sure the experience will be very rewarding for them because they will get the chance to see another side of life in Canada and to discover just how vast their country is.

Saint-Quentin Arc-en-ciel Choir
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Jean-Claude D'Amours Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

Mr. Speaker, on April 6, I had the honour of attending a concert by the Saint-Quentin Arc-en-ciel choir at the Maple Capital of Atlantic Canada Festival.

After an 18-year hiatus, the Arc-en-ciel choir made a comeback with a retro show that was sold out for three days. The 40 or so artists impressed the audience by playing old French and English hits.

I would like to congratulate Louiselle Connors, the concert producer, and all the artists who put on such a moving and lively show. I also want to thank Jocelyne Bossé Querry and the entire organizing committee of the Maple Capital Festival, who presented me with a bird's-eye maple tie that I am proudly wearing today.

The Festival organizing committee and the Arc-en-ciel choir made this event a success throughout the entire region.

Roger Gibb
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Diane Bourgeois Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, we recently learned that Roger Gibb has been appointed Chair of the Board of Directors of the Saint-Jérôme regional hospital foundation.

Mr. Gibb is an engineer who retired from Stablex Canada, where he was vice-president and CEO, and he is very involved in the Blainville community. He is a leader in the eyes of many of our entrepreneurs, who benefit from his advice, his ability to organize, and his availability. He was the former chair and then governor of the Thérèse-de-Blainville chamber of commerce, former president of the economic development corporation and vice-president of the Blainville business people's association. He is now the president of Quebec's environmental industry association.

My Bloc Québécois colleagues and I wish him the best of luck in carrying out his mandate as chair of the Saint-Jérôme hospital foundation.

The Environment
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, this Sunday is the 37th Earth Day. Sadly, we are still facing an environmental crisis in Canada and around the world.

Since taking office, the Conservatives have embarrassed and disappointed Canadians by their position on the environment. One of their first acts in government was to give up on Canada's international commitments to address climate change and global warming.

Quite simply, ordinary Canadians are tired of this inaction. They know that this is not only a health issue for their families and future generations but the beginning of a serious economic problem for all Canadians.

New Democrats are fighting hard to ensure that Kyoto remains a priority for the Conservative government.

By helping to completely rewrite the clean air act, we now have the opportunity to pass legislation that would significantly reduce our greenhouse gas emissions with tough regulations on big polluters, an end to subsidies for oil and gas, a green car strategy and energy efficiency programs.

The government has to get the message. We need to protect our environment.

Residential Schools Settlement
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Rod Bruinooge Winnipeg South, MB

Mr. Speaker, on March 21, 2007, the Indian residential schools settlement agreement received final court approval. Now former students and their families must choose whether to stay in the agreement or opt out. Significant plans are under way to inform all former students and their families about their options and legal rights.

During this period, efforts will be made to ensure that all former students receive important information about the details of the settlement agreement and the timelines and procedures involved in exercising their legal rights.

To this end, a summary notice, detailed notice and opt-out form will be mailed directly at the program's outset to over 40,000 former students across Canada. These notices describe the settlement's benefits and explain what it means to opt out and how to do so.

It is important to note that these notices are part of a larger program, which will include media placements, direct mailings, community outreach activities and continued availability of a toll free information line and website.

This government is once again demonstrating its commitment to a fair and lasting resolution to the legacy of Indian residential schools.

The Environment
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Raymond Simard Saint Boniface, MB

Mr. Speaker, as members will know, we are celebrating Earth Week. It is especially important to recognize environmental activists across the nation.

I am pleased to rise in the House today to recognize a very talented young lady by the name of Megan Paavola, a constituent who is among an elite group of 15 students from across Canada, who will receive the $5,000 Toyota Earth Day scholarship. This award recognizes outstanding achievements in environmental community service, academics and extracurricular participation.

Ms. Paavola's motivation and dedication to raise awareness on environmental issues has been most impressive. Her efforts include, but are not limited to: co-organizing a two-day Polar Bear Awareness event at the Winnipeg Children's Museum; participating in the Polar Bear Science Leadership Camp in Churchill, Manitoba; speaking tirelessly on ecological solutions; and initiating a student run recycling program at her school.

Megan Paavola's passion for the arts and social justice issues, combined with her leadership skills, make her a well rounded individual.

Please join me in congratulating Megan Paavola who understands the true meaning of being a responsible global citizen.

Air Force Appreciation Day
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Laurie Hawn Edmonton Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, today is Air Force Appreciation Day, an occasion to recognize the outstanding contributions made by the men and women of Canada's air force to protect all Canadians.

The 15,000 men and women in air force light blue are on duty every day, ensuring the sovereignty of our airspace over Canada's great land mass and well out over three oceans.

The air force conducts dangerous search and rescue missions. It forms Canada's contribution to Norad's continental defence. It transports humanitarian assistance to those in need around the world and it plays a vital role in the Canadian Forces operations in Afghanistan as it maintains the crucial air bridge to that operation, transporting thousands of tonnes of equipment and thousands of personnel.

From Billy Bishop's courage of the early morning in a Nieuport 17 to a C-17 Globemaster in the near future, Canada's air force slips the surly bonds of earth around the clock as a vital component of Canada's foreign and domestic policy.

Today I would like all members to join me in recognizing the dedication and importance of Canada's air force whose leadership joins us today and its hard-working men and women who serve Canada first, every day.

Per ardua ad astra and Check-Six.

Earth Day
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, with Earth Day celebrations approaching, I would invite all members of this House to reflect on our ability to act on environmental issues. We each have a role to play here in the House, as well as in our lives. What can we do to act responsibly?

First, we have to become more aware of how our lifestyle and consumer choices affect the environment. Once we do that, it will be easier to change things. We can make so many little changes: reduce our energy consumption, avoid using plastic bags, dispose of hazardous household waste properly, or plant trees.

The Conservative government is refusing to shoulder its responsibilities in the fight against climate change. My Bloc Québécois colleagues and I condemn this government's attitude. We must each make the kinds of changes that will really make a difference.

AHEPA Canada
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Jim Abbott Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is with great pride that I rise today to recognize AHEPA Canada.

Founded in the United States in 1922, the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association is one of the largest Hellenic heritage groups in the world and branched out to Canada in 1928. AHEPA is also in Greece, Cyprus, New Zealand and Australia.

AHEPA promotes the ideals of Hellenism, education, philanthropy, civic responsibility, family and individual excellence. In Canada, the organization donates more than $300,000 a year toward education and charities at the local, national and international levels.

I would like to thank the president of AHEPA Canada, Mr. Frank Antoniou and the members of his executive for honouring us with their presence in Ottawa today.

Sikhism
Statements By Members

April 19th, 2007 / 2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Gurbax Malhi Bramalea—Gore—Malton, ON

Mr. Speaker, Sikh communities around the world are celebrating the 308th birthday of the Sikh nation, the Sikh faith, the Khalsa. It also marks the first day of the Sikh new year.

Since 1994, I have held celebrations for Vaisakhi. I would like to thank the Leader of the Opposition for attending the celebration along with many other members of parliament. Mr. Speaker, a special thanks to you for your continued Vaisakhi celebration support.

Hundreds of thousands of Sikhs live as peaceful and full participants in Canadian society. In spite of many difficulties encountered by Canada's first Sikh immigrants at the turn of the century, today they are a full and active community in the Canadian mosaic.

As the first turbaned Sikh member of Parliament of the House of Commons, I am sure all members would like to join with me in congratulating the Sikh community on this occasion and hope that we all continue to work together to promote harmony and good will in order to keep Canada an exemplary country filled with tolerance and compassion.

Brent Poland
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Patricia Davidson Sarnia—Lambton, ON

Mr. Speaker, today I rise to honour my constituent, Corporal Brent Poland, who was among the six soldiers killed on Easter Sunday in Afghanistan. He is the second combat casualty from Sarnia—Lambton from this mission after last year's tragic death of Private William Cushley.

They represent the first combat deaths for Sarnia—Lambton since the Korean war, where Canadians gave hope to, in those days, the poorest people on earth. Now Canadians are giving hope to today's most downtrodden in Afghanistan.

I had the honour to speak with Corporal Poland before he was deployed and he told me he joined the forces because he was inspired by what they were achieving and, above all else, he believed in this mission.

The Poland family members have stated that they do not want their son's death to be the cause of any wavering will or political opportunism concerning the worthiness of the mission in Afghanistan.

My sincere condolences go to Don and Pat, brother Mark and all other family and friends.

Trade
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Mr. Speaker, recently North American automakers came out against the proposed free trade deal with South Korea. This follows the Canadian Auto Workers Union that earlier voiced its opposition as well. In fact, a credible economic study predicts a deal with Korea will cost between 14,000 and 33,000 well paying jobs in this country.

The auto industry used to be a backbone of our economy. Successive Liberal and Conservative governments have allowed it to disintegrate.

The statistics are grave. In the last two years we have lost over 200,000 jobs in manufacturing in Ontario and Quebec. In my region of Windsor-Essex alone, more than 10,000 auto sector jobs have disappeared and for the first time in 18 years Canada has an auto trade deficit.

Despite these job losses and devastating implications of the trade deal, the government has signalled its intention to fast track negotiations without any public debate or impact studies.

If this Conservative government is unwilling to end free trade, it must bring that deal to the House for a vote.

Hearing Impaired
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Garth Turner Halton, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize a parent based community organization that has made a difference not only in my riding but in 17 other chapters across Ontario, Alberta, Manitoba, Quebec and Newfoundland.

VOICE for Hearing Impaired Children was established in the 1960s by parents to offer support to families with children who are deaf and hard of hearing. VOICE has made a difference in the lives of hearing impaired children by providing parental support, public education, advocacy and auditory-verbal therapy.

I would like to take this opportunity to commend the Halton chapter of VOICE which, because of volunteerism, was able to raise over $40,000 to ensure that hearing impaired children in my region have the opportunity to develop their ability to listen and to speak.

The website, for more information, is www.voicefordeafkids.com.

National Volunteer Week
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, through their quiet, unwavering solidarity and generosity, thousands of women and men in my riding and throughout Quebec are helping improve the quality of life of people in our community.

Volunteer work has quietly taken hold and has given our society a more human face. Each year, thousands of volunteers in Quebec give their time and talent to their favourite cause.

Last September, the Conservative government attacked the weakest, most vulnerable members of our society by slashing support programs. Its actions had a direct impact on the volunteers who humanize our society.

As this is National Volunteer Week, I want to thank and pay tribute to all the people who selflessly devote time to bettering our communities.

Human Rights
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Omar Alghabra Mississauga—Erindale, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to call on all parliamentarians to join me in condemning all forms of hate speech. Unfortunately, occasionally we see hate and intolerance rear its ugly head among us.

On April 4 a small explosion outside a Jewish community centre in Montreal sent a chill as many Canadians celebrated Passover. Last week Professor Muriel Walker of McMaster University had hateful and racist slurs painted on her office door because she promoted understanding about Muslim Canadians. These acts of cowardice and hate disgust all Canadians.

As we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the charter, I am proud that our laws and institutions stand firm against hate. Today my colleague from Etobicoke Centre will be tabling a motion to strengthen our hate laws by adding gender as an unacceptable basis for discrimination and hate.

I am calling on all parliamentarians to offer their unanimous consent to adopt this motion. Last Parliament some Conservative members refused to do so and I hope this time they will reconsider. We all must stand together against all forms of hate.