House of Commons Hansard #168 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was finance.

Topics

Budget Implementation Act, 2007
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Robert Thibault West Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, as my colleague has become one of the foremost authorities on parliamentary procedure, history and tradition in this House, he would understand, as I do, that traditionally a budget vote or a vote on the Speech from the Throne are matters of confidence.

However, in this instance we had a senior member of the government, no less than the Minister of Foreign Affairs, somebody who the entire world must trust, must understand and take at his word, stand in this House and say that the budget in this instance would not be a matter of confidence, that members could stand and vote their conscience, that Atlantic ministers, to protect the Atlantic accord, could vote against the budget and that there would be no retribution, no whipping, no flipping, no firing, no expulsion from caucus, that they could remain in the caucus.

However, a few days later, the member for Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, when he had the courage to defend Nova Scotians, did not have time, after he voted against the budget, to make it to the curtains before the member for Central Nova's word was completely broken.

Does he know that as anything else but hypocrisy?

Budget Implementation Act, 2007
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I think we have another situation where the member has given the answer in a question.

It is regrettable when members of the Conservative Party on all of these matters cannot be taken at their word. Credibility in this place is something we, as members of Parliament, all hold very high in terms of protection. Our credibility is what makes us good members of Parliament.

I am sorry that a lot of this has happened but the government is doing it knowingly. What concerns me is that Conservatives do not care whether or not their credibility is damaged.

I see the member for Scarborough—Rouge River is ready to rise.

Alleged Conduct of Member for Calgary East
Privilege
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Derek Lee Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am rising on a question of privilege in my own attempt to be helpful to the Chair in connection with a matter of privilege raised by the member for Brampton—Springdale last week. I rise principally because of reports that the member for Calgary East, who had been mentioned, indicated publicly that he would not be attending and rising in the House to deal with it.

The first question I would put to the Chair is whether or not that was a question of privilege. I know the Chair must determine that in the matter of parliamentary friendship groups but this, I would urge upon the Chair, is a matter of participation in a parliamentary activity and related to parliamentary responsibilities.

I would point out that these groups have a membership of MPs and senators. The executives are often chosen based on membership of the House and Senate. The meetings take place on parliamentary premises almost all of the time and both governments and diplomats make use of these groups for bilateral relations with Canada and Parliament.

I am urging that you accept that these parliamentary friendship groups are a crystallized and manifest accretion to the working context of members of the House, perhaps one that did not exist 100 or 200 years ago when the foundations of parliamentary privilege were born.

Second, was the member intimidated? I would put to the Chair that if the member felt intimidated then she was intimidated.

I draw reference here to what is sometimes called the thin skull theory in Tort law. You will be the best judge, Mr. Speaker, of whether or not the words and the body language constituted an intimidation of the member. However, there were words used right before and right after the formal meeting in question and I urge upon the Chair to recognize that the issue may not be the words, it may be the intimidation that is the issue.

Last, these things occur between members from time to time. They occur actually in a lot of different places, including on hockey teams, in offices and in churches between people and their day to day activities. I think it would be very helpful if the member for Calgary East would attend, rise and help us all, including the Chair, to sort this out in the proper way so that we can deal with it and move on.

Alleged Conduct of Member for Calgary East
Privilege
Government Orders

1:55 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, just in response, I would note that on a question of privilege I believe it is the requirement that it be the member whose privileges are said to be breached who should be raising that point, and that is not the case in this circumstance.

In terms of whether the Speaker should involve himself, I think it is obviously not the case that the Speaker should involve himself in the resolution of these kinds of disputes at parliamentary friendship or other associations, otherwise that would be a full time job for the Speaker, running the elections, refereeing them and dealing with all the issues there. That is clearly beyond anybody's conception of the role of the Speaker of the House.

As for the suggestion of the thin skull principle, if conduct in the House is any example, I suggest that the individual in question has a thick skin, among other things, and certainly if what one dishes out is any measure of what one can take oneself, then that is hardly a concern.

Alleged Conduct of Member for Calgary East
Privilege
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Andrew Scheer

I thank members for their interventions on this point. I know the Chair is taking these arguments under advisement and I am sure he will come back to the House.

At this moment, though, we will move on to statements by members.

Volunteerism
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

Ken Epp Edmonton—Sherwood Park, AB

Mr. Speaker, my riding will be the host of two very significant sport and cultural events this summer. These are always fun for the participants and spectators and offer the people in our community an opportunity to demonstrate their wonderful spirit of volunteerism.

First, we have the Seniors' Games in the City of Fort Saskatchewan from July 26 to 29. This is a time when people my age and older compete and show that they are superior in mind and body. There will be about 1,200 participants and we are all looking forward to this time of challenge for mind and muscle.

Then we have the Western Canada Summer Games in Strathcona county from August 3 to 11. This will involve over 2,300 athletes, coaches, officials and performers, plus about 3,000 volunteers.

I offer my congratulations and thanks to all the volunteers and their leaders, people like Margaret Marciak the team leader, because without them such events just could not happen.

I say way to go to Sherwood Park and Fort Saskatchewan.

Scleroderma Awareness Month
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Omar Alghabra Mississauga—Erindale, ON

Mr. Speaker, members of the Scleroderma Society of Canada are here in Ottawa to meet with officials from Health Canada.

They have designated June as Scleroderma Awareness Month and are working hard to inform Canadians and the government about its seriousness.

Scleroderma is a progressive and chronic connective tissue disorder that causes the thickening, hardening and scarring of the skin and other organs. It is a highly individualized disorder and symptoms and severity can range from mild to potentially life-threatening.

Scleroderma affects women four to five times as frequently as men and its exact cause is still unknown. While many symptoms can be improved with medication and lifestyle changes, there is still no known cure. There is a need for more research and studies.

I would like to thank the Scleroderma Society's president, Shirley Haslam, and its regional support groups and volunteers for their dedication to raising awareness about this disease.

I also call upon the government to increase investment in research that would find a cure for this debilitating disease.

Martine Paiement
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Johanne Deschamps Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, as Bloc Québécois critic on the status of women and member for Laurentides—Labelle, today I would like to pay tribute to the remarkable work of a woman in my riding.

Martine Paiement, a resident of the municipality of Piedmont, recently went to Africa as part of the international cooperation program of the Canadian Executive Service Organization. The purpose of her trip was to develop the “African woman entrepreneur”.

African society is very dependent on the work of women. Whether they are working to bring home food or to support families, they are often the last thing standing between survival and extreme poverty.

Her trip was productive. Canada's African trade commissioner, Jude Bijingsi, visited the Upper Laurentians and had the opportunity to take a closer look at our region's trade potential.

Congratulations once again, Ms. Paiement, for your excellent work.

Manufacturing Industry
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, in question period I recently challenged the government to act on real solutions to stem the flood of job losses in the manufacturing sector; 11,000 in Hamilton alone and over one-quarter million nationwide.

The minister's answer was, in essence, that he was “taking care of business”. That line has not made workers happy since Bachman-Turner Overdrive took that song to the top of the charts in 1974.

Working families deserve more than song and dance from their government. It is time for government to be at the table when companies like Stelco in Hamilton contemplate mergers, partnerships, acquisitions or sales.

The government needs to ensure that no action is taken on the backs of workers and retirees. It is time to stand up for working families, demand that collective agreements be respected, ensure that all pension and benefit obligations for active and retired workers are honoured and ensure that jobs will be protected.

Workers need those decent paying jobs to sustain their families, small businesses need them to stay afloat and our city needs them for the tax base that supports community centres, hospitals and schools.

During the election, the Prime Minister promised he would stand up for Canada. The time to deliver is now.

Philippines
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai Calgary East, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Philippines faces serious human rights challenges. Foremost among those is the large number of extrajudicial killings that have been reported. These killings have targeted political activists, journalists and others. Many of them have gone unresolved.

Canada has expressed our concerns on numerous occasions to the Philippine government about extrajudicial killings and the apparent culture of impunity that is undermining law and order.

Canadian officials continue to meet and consult with groups most affected by the violence. We support building a capacity of expertise in the Philippine government institutions that are mandated to improve the human rights situation.

I would also like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the important steps the Philippines have taken to address this problem, including Task Force USIG, the Melo Commission and the invitation of the UN Special Rapporteur. Further, President Macapagal-Arroyo has stated her intention to implement new measures, including the creation of special courts to investigate the killings and the strengthening of witness protection to address the issue.

The Environment
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Anthony Rota Nipissing—Timiskaming, ON

Mr. Speaker, today I want to pay tribute to 26 students and 15 adults who spent Saturday, May 27, picking up garbage along the highway between New Liskeard and Haileybury.

The driving force behind this initiative was Nathalie Lessard, an educator who recognized the importance of beautifying the area and decided to put out a call for help. The participants filled more than 100 bags with garbage. This simple yet effective initiative is an excellent example of how each one of us can help protect the environment.

I hope that, one day, it will no longer be necessary to organize such clean-up campaigns, because more and more people are aware of the importance of a clean and healthy environment. I want to again thank Nathalie Lessard and the many volunteers who pitched in and who have certainly inspired others to do the same.

The Environment
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Luc Harvey Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, last week, the Prime Minister filled Canadians with pride when he helped achieve a global consensus on an agreement to fight climate change.

The leaders of Germany, France, Italy, the United Kingdom, Russia and Japan welcomed the climate change agreement reached at the G-8 summit, calling it a great success.

Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations, has said that he is very encouraged by the commitment the G-8 members have made to establish a multilateral process under the auspices of the United Nations.

My question is this: if the true leaders of the world are welcoming this major agreement, why can the Leader of the Opposition, the champion of inaction, not do the same? Leaders take action. The Prime Minister took steps at the G-8 summit to combat climate change. Unfortunately, the president of the “laissez-faire” club, the Leader of the Opposition, is more interested in partisan squabbling than in taking real steps to help the environment.

François Boyer
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Claude DeBellefeuille Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to pay tribute today to François Boyer, an admirable man who played an important role in developing ties between the Mohawk community of Akwesasne and Quebeckers. I was deeply saddened to hear of Mr. Boyer's passing.

He was a dedicated, jovial man whose positive outlook was simply infectious. He was also very kind and sincere. His memory will live on in his community and in the hearts of all his friends and family.

François was very well known in the Mohawk community of Akwesasne, although somewhat less so outside it. There is no doubt that the bridges he built constitute an important accomplishment for our two cultures, both for today and for years to come.

Our thoughts at this time are with his family, friends and loved ones in particular, those he loved and those who loved him. May his memory inspire us to be better people and more open to others.

Northwest Territories
Statements By Members

June 11th, 2007 / 2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Brian Jean Fort McMurray—Athabasca, AB

Mr. Speaker, the hard-working people of the Northwest Territories have only one representative in Ottawa. The member for Western Arctic is here to stand up for them and their interests, not to play political games that threaten the important funding that brings significant benefits to the territories.

Unfortunately, the current NDP member for Western Arctic does not see it that way. Shamefully, he voted against a budget that his own premier called good news. Now he is supporting his leader's efforts to delay the budget bill that will cost the Northwest Territories over $54 million in funding.

The people of Yellowknife, Hay River, Inuvik, Fort Smith and all communities in between sent the member for Western Arctic here to make Parliament work for them, not to take part in his leader's political games.

It is time for the member for Western Arctic to stand up for his constituents and to stand up to his leader and tell him that the $54 million that will be lost is too important for his constituents and that it is time to pass the budget implementation bill. It is time to stand up for the people of the Northwest Territories.

Northwest Territories
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

I remind hon. members that we have to be careful not to do attacks on other hon. members in the course of Standing Order 31 statements.

The hon. member for Thornhill.