House of Commons Hansard #154 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was investment.

Topics

Health Care
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Keith Martin Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, health care is one of the top concerns of Canadians, and shockingly, it is not on the Conservative government's agenda.

There is a crisis in our emergency departments where it is frequently the norm to wait eight to twelve hours for care.

There is also a medical manpower crisis. Fifteen per cent of graduating nurses cannot find jobs in Canada so they go to the United States. We need them, but the resources are not there to pay for them. This is against a backdrop where the average age of a nurse is in the late forties. For physicians it is worse. Their average age is older.

Hundreds of thousands of Canadians cannot find a family doctor. As we get older, so too do our caregivers. This demographic time bomb is exploding and will devastate our health care system.

I call on the Conservative government to act now and work with the provinces to implement a national health care workforce strategy for physicians, nurses, technicians and other health care workers to get the right number of people in the right places.

Without these health care professionals, we will not have a health care system.

International Day of Families
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Mike Lake Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont, AB

Mr. Speaker, today is the 14th annual International Day of Families. This year's theme is, “Families and Persons with Disabilities”.

Canadians appreciate what our government has been getting done for families and persons with disabilities. We understand the important contribution families make to Canada. That is why we are investing more to support families' choice in child care than any federal government in our history, three times more than the Liberals did, but there is more.

Our government is helping families enjoy the benefits of a better, safer and stronger Canada. Budget 2007 introduced a new registered disability savings plan, a working families tax plan that includes the new child tax credit, a more attractive RESP for students, and initiatives for seniors. This is on top of previously announced initiatives such as the universal child care benefit and the children's fitness tax credit.

While today is a special day to pay tribute to families, Canadians now have a government that acknowledges the importance of all families every day. I invite Canadians to celebrate the International Day of Families. I encourage all Canadians to take time to appreciate the special people who enrich their lives and make up their families.

Aboriginal Affairs
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, the social condition of Canada's first nations people is this country's greatest failure and this country's greatest shame.

Today the national chief of the Assembly of First Nations served notice that decades of round tables, consultations and royal commissions have gone nowhere and have done nothing to improve the social conditions of the people that he represents. The national chief served notice that his people are losing hope and that when young people lose hope, desperation can lead to social unrest and civil disobedience.

It was in 1990 that social unrest among first nations led to the Oka crisis. The Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples bought a decade of peace, but in the absence of any meaningful progress, we should recognize that peace is a finite commodity.

We should be grateful and recognize and pay tribute to the leadership of first nations who have kept a lid on the boiling pot of social unrest among their people. We should serve notice to the government of today that it must act meaningfully today.

Official Languages
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Raymonde Folco Laval—Les Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, today the official languages commissioner tabled a report very critical of the Conservative government in its handling of Canada's Official Languages Act.

Indeed, this Conservative government continues to erode the Official Languages Act.

The government has failed its own accountability test. This morning Conservative members refused to replace the chair of the Standing Committee on Official Languages when the former chair was forced to resign. This effectively brings the committee's work to a standstill.

The government continues to obstruct and hinder the work of committee members.

I call on the government to uphold its commitments under the act and to honour its obligations of results by immediately nominating a new chair so that the work of the committee can continue.

The Standing Committee on Official Languages needs a new chair immediately, in order to go on with its work.

Canadian Police Week
Statements By Members

May 15th, 2007 / 2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Raymond Gravel Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, on the occasion of Canadian Police Week, I would like to pay tribute to all these women and all these men who work to protect our fellow citizens and to make our regions safe.

The service provided by our police is a high-risk essential service; it has cost many their life. Just think of the tragic death of Laval police officers Valérie Gignac in December 2005 and Daniel Tessier last March, not to mention many others, in the line of duty.

I worked with the members of the Laval Police Brotherhood for over ten years as chaplain. I have met men and women who loved their work and were committed to serving the public. Over the years, I have forged strong ties of friendship with many of them and I strongly believe that, as citizens, we owe them respect and gratitude and, as parliamentarians, support and solidarity. The best way to support our police is by maintaining, as requested by them, the gun registry which is playing an invaluable role in their work.

In closing, I wish to express my greatest admiration and gratitude to all those police officers I have had the opportunity to meet and appreciate during my life.

Income Trusts
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister said there is no greater fraud than a promise not kept.

He emphatically promised during the last election never to tax income trusts. Then the Conservative government recklessly broke its promise by imposing a 31.5% punitive tax on income trusts, with devastating consequences particularly on seniors.

That broken promise wiped out over $25 billion of hard-earned retirement savings of over two million Canadians. It also led to private equity takeovers of over 15 income trusts, which reduced government tax revenue by an estimated $6 billion a year.

What is worse, independent experts have shown clearly that the Minister of Finance's decision on income trusts was based on flawed methodology and incorrect assumptions.

The time has come for the finance minister to acknowledge his mistake, to apologize to Canadians who were unfairly harmed by the reckless broken promise and to repeal the punitive 31.5% tax.

The Environment
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Jeff Watson Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, I know that Liberal fundraiser is an oxymoron under the weak headship of the member for Saint-Laurent—Cartierville. According to reports, the Liberal so-called leader told what was left of Liberal supporters that he would end his own environmental deficit.

He tried to act as if the deficit was ours. He may say this is unfair, but let us remember how weak he was while he sat in cabinet and as environment minister. Under his watch, GHG emissions rose 35% above his Kyoto target. Ten years of environmental inaction was slammed in report after report by the environment commissioner.

As minister, he was the recipient of the fossil of the day award by the Climate Action Network. Confusing lead with lead, as in a lead balloon dropping, he oversaw Canada's race down to 28th out of 29 OECD countries on pollution.

Even his face-saving colleagues once admitted he “didn't get it done” on the environment. He not only could not get it done, his actions show he never will get it done. He needs to face the facts: he is just not a leader.

The Good Old Soccer Game
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to report to you and to the House of Commons that in our eighth annual soccer game the MPs defeated the pages 11-7 for our sixth win over two losses.

It was a glorious night in Ottawa
The media and the fans couldn't believe what they saw
There were MPs and Pages running on the field
With neither team wanting to bend or to yield.

Soccer was the reason for which we all gathered
For pride and honour is all that had mattered
Ten long months, the Pages did serve
In the House of Commons with courage and nerve.

In this our ninth year, the Pages faced defeat
To the Mighty MPs, who would not retreat
With skill and precision, we made that ball dance
In reality, the young ones never had a chance.

Now the summer draws near and the sun is high
We soon will shake hands and say our goodbyes
Today we toast the Pages good cheer
As we anxiously await the new ones next year.

Official Languages
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville
Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, Canada has had an Official Languages Act for 40 years. The act is a fundamental part of our country and has earned consensus among the parties. However, the Prime Minister himself did not begin to support it until 2005 after having criticized it in writing as a “god that failed”.

The Prime Minister eliminated the court challenges program. In so doing, the Prime Minister showed his true colours. Now, the Prime Minister is trying to muzzle the committee that is supposed to study the report prepared by the Commissioner of Official Languages, who criticized the Prime Minister's attack on the program.

Will the Prime Minister appoint another member to chair the committee?

Official Languages
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Commissioner of Official Languages commented on my strong support for official languages in Canada.

The committees are responsible for selecting their own chairs. I am told that the Conservative members of the committee think that the member for Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry is doing an exceptional job.

Official Languages
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville
Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister does not like the charter: he kills the program supporting it. He does not like official languages: he kills the program supporting it. He does not like to be questioned by the members of the House: he kills committees.

I know he does not have a lot of confidence in his caucus members, and I guess for valid reasons, but I ask him to choose one of them to chair this committee, as the Prime Minister should according to the law.

Official Languages
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as members know, the committee has a chair elected from among the Conservatives elected by its members. Unfortunately, the Liberals and the opposition have decided to play games. As a consequence, the committee cannot meet because it does not have a chair. That is something the committee has to rectify.

I will point out that in his report today Mr. Fraser noted that the member's plan for official languages in 2003 was not done, like he did not do anything else. The fact is this government has put $30 million more into official languages. We are getting it done. Unfortunately, they voted against it.

Official Languages
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville
Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister does not want plans to be implemented. He kills the plans and after he complains.

I would like to quote something the Prime Minister said in 2001: “As a religion, bilingualism is the god that failed. It has led to no fairness, produced no unity, and cost Canadian taxpayers untold millions”.

Is this still what the Prime Minister thinks?

Official Languages
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, allow me to quote the Commissioner of Official Languages. He said that: “Prime Minister Harper’s public behaviour is exemplary in terms of respect for Canada’s official languages”.

It is the member opposite who came up with a plan in 2003 and then did not do anything. The new minister is putting $30 million more into this program. She is getting the job done.

Official Languages
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, on this side of the House, we believe that language must never divide Canadians from each other or from their institutions. That is why we support bilingualism, so we can be linked together in common understanding and respect.

However, that is not the position of the government.

Today, the Commissioner of Official Languages condemned the government for its “apparent lack of will” in sustaining bilingualism and protecting the rights of minority language communities in Canada.

Will the Prime Minister commit today to act on the commissioner's recommendations, or will he continue to pursue his policies of division?