House of Commons Hansard #148 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was senators.

Topics

French Language Education
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Richard Nadeau Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am outraged by the statement by Liberal candidate Justin Trudeau, who says he is in favour of abolishing separate French language and English language education systems.

His remarks show a lack of understanding of the history of francophones in Quebec and the rest of Canada and the battles they have fought. It is shameful to want to upset a balance as delicate as French language education, which owes its existence to struggles, hard work and a refusal to assimilate.

It is incomprehensible that Justin Trudeau should raise the possibility of merging the education systems to save money, especially when education is a provincial responsibility. The right of minority francophone and Acadian communities to be educated in French is worth a lot more than any potential savings.

Before he comes out in favour of trilingualism or quadrilingualism, the Liberal candidate should recognize that minority francophones are entitled to be educated in their own language, and he should learn what comes under federal jurisdiction and what does not.

National Mental Health Week
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

John McKay Scarborough—Guildwood, ON

Mr. Speaker, this is National Mental Health Week. Mental illness affects people of all ages, but the effect of this illness on the young is particularly tragic. It takes away their future. Mental illness affects not only the individual but the person's family. It is an issue that has affected our family.

Hope and aspirations for one's child are devastated. The child may not graduate from university or college. It may be unrealistic to look forward to marriage and grandchildren. With the present state of research, the most one can hope for is that the medication will stabilize the individual. There is no cure.

That is why Dr. John Roder's breakthrough research into schizophrenia at the Lunenberg Research Centre is so very important and welcome. He has switched his career track from well-funded cancer research to research on mental illness, the poor cousin in the world of medical research, as a result of his own son's diagnosis.

More funds are urgently needed. I hope the Conservative government will make mental health research a priority.

Senate Tenure Legislation
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Reid Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington, ON

Mr. Speaker, as Bill S-4, the Senate term limit law, approaches its first birthday, Liberal senators are running out of coherent reasons to oppose the bill, and so the silly season begins.

Only 16 of 36 senators who responded to a Hill Times survey support Bill S-4. According to the newspaper, “15 of those supporters are Conservatives and one was anonymous”.

This confirms the democracy phobia of Liberals in the other place. It also shows that whoever is running the mad house over there it certainly is not the Leader of the Opposition, who said in February, “Term limits [for senators] are a good thing, if it's not too short”.

What constitutes a not too short term in the eyes of a Liberal senator? Clearly, it is not the eight years proposed by Bill S-4. According to the Hill Times, “The preferred term limit for Liberals ranged primarily between 12 and 15 years”. Yet last year the Leader of the Opposition said that Senate terms should be as short as six years.

The Leader of the Opposition cannot control Elizabeth May. Now he cannot control his own Senate caucus. Is he in control of anything at all?

Superior Court of Quebec
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Independent

André Arthur Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to draw the attention of the House to a serious problem at the Superior Court of Quebec, in Quebec City.

Justice Yves Alain has just paid a $1,300 fine for driving his car with a blood alcohol level of 0.258, which is probably a record among judges. Nonetheless, he wants to remain a judge and continue to pass judgment on people who, unlike him, are not criminals.

Yves Alain is a Liberal appointed judge, who is considered in Quebec City to be a protégé of Marc-Yvan Côté. What is more, he is part of a group of legal bullies who have been trying for some time now to change the media landscape in Quebec by eliminating certain people through outrageous rulings.

The Government of Canada and the judicial council must give back the Superior Court of Quebec the credibility it needs to maintain public respect by chasing out this criminal and bully.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

May 7th, 2007 / 2:15 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville
Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, last Thursday, Colonel Steve Noonan testified under oath that he had been made aware of the case of a detainee who had been transferred by Canadian authorities to Afghan authorities and had been mistreated by the Afghan authorities. This claim was contradicted on Saturday by the Department of National Defence and the contradictions keep coming.

There are two possible explanations: either the government was aware of the content of Colonel Noonan's testimony and hid it from this House, or it was not aware, which further proves that the Minister of National Defence is not in control of his department. Which of these versions is correct?

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

York—Simcoe
Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, I am very puzzled why the Leader of the Opposition continues to try to distort and mislead this House and others on the facts, because the reality does not accord with what he described. The situation is not at all what he described.

In fact what we have here is actually a situation where we can be very proud of our Canadian troops. They saw an individual receiving a little rough treatment at the hands of some Afghans and they intervened to protect him and ensure his well-being.

I think that is something we would be proud of and I cannot imagine why the Leader of the Opposition would think it is a bad thing or would want to continue to attack our Canadian troops on the subject.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville
Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, this is disgusting. We support the troops. Everybody in this House supports the troops.

But the government is not doing its job. If the Conservatives knew that the Afghan authority was treating the detainee that way, why did they hide it from the Canadian people and from this House?

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

York—Simcoe
Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, we are not dealing here with a prisoner that had been turned over and was tortured in a prison. It is no such situation like that. It was a situation out in the field where Canadian soldiers observed this taking place and intervened to ensure that the situation could be ended.

That is something we should be proud of, but the Liberals persist in harping on it as if the Canadian Forces did something wrong. The Canadian Forces conducted themselves in an exemplary fashion. We have put in place now an agreement to deal with the treatment of any prisoners who are in place.

I will simply read what Paul Koring said in the Globe and Mail:

The new deal transforms Canada into the standard-bearer for all foreign countries in the monitoring of transferred prisoners in Afghanistan.

One would think he would--

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

The hon. Leader of the Opposition.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville
Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, certainly our troops did the right thing in this specific case. That is not the question. The question is, did the minister know? Did the Minister of Public Safety know? Did the Prime Minister know? Who knew that this specific case happened and who made the cover-up?

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

York—Simcoe
Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, again the Leader of the Opposition has his facts wrong.

The facts are, as Colonel Noonan's affidavit indicates, that this is not an issue of a detainee who was transferred to Afghan authorities. It is an issue that happened out in the field, that Canadians observed and then intervened.

Perhaps this is the reason the Canadian public has so much confidence in the Leader of the Opposition that they delivered the lowest total ever in contributions, 10% of what the government did in its first quarter, the lowest total ever in Canadian history for Liberal contributions since reporting started. That is a pretty good accomplishment. It must be in his questions.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, the issue is this. Do we have one process to transfer detainees, or two? Do we have coverage for all detainees or not? These are the questions. Are all Afghans handed over to the Afghans covered by the new agreement? Do they all receive full Geneva convention protection?

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

York—Simcoe
Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, on Friday I read considerable excerpts from the agreement that covered that and indeed answered those questions in the affirmative.

Apparently the deputy leader for the Liberal Party is following in the steps of his leader in failing to read the agreement, but somebody else read it, somebody named Michael Byers, who is not traditionally a fan of the government. He said that the enhanced agreement is now better than the Dutch-Afghan agreement, in fact, it is first-rate. If he is satisfied, I would hope they would finally be satisfied.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, the new agreement delegates investigations into allegations of abuse by the Afghan authorities to the Afghan authorities themselves. This is not acceptable.

Why is the Prime Minister shirking his responsibilities? Why does he refuse to devote the necessary resources to ensure that Afghan prisons respect the provisions of the Geneva convention?

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

York—Simcoe
Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, according to what is being said, this is a very good agreement. For example, in an article in the Globe and Mail, Paul Koring said, “The new deal transforms Canada into the standard-bearer for all foreign countries in the monitoring of transferred prisoners in Afghanistan”.

We are proud of this agreement.