House of Commons Hansard #175 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was safety.

Topics

Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

Dave Batters Palliser, SK

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the United Nations Human Rights Council concluded its fifth regular session in Geneva.

Canada has always held that the council needs to live up to expectations to promote and protect human rights around the world through an objective and impartial body. So far, the council is failing to live up to these expectations, but our Conservative government has maintained a principled position.

The main emphasis of the fifth session was institution building, yet Canada did not agree with the final consensus document. Could the Minister of Foreign Affairs say why Canada did not agree with the conclusions reached by the human rights council?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Central Nova
Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Mr. Speaker, Canada was in fact disappointed with the human rights council, created to promote and protect human rights, which failed to respect its founding principles in the text that was adopted this week.

We cannot, for expedience, accept a permanent agenda item on the Palestinian territories, singling out one situation while at the same time eliminating a special human rights scrutiny of countries of concern, such as Cuba and Belarus. It is a contradiction.

If the human rights council is to be successful and avoid being discredited like its predecessor, the founding principles must be respected and upheld.

Canada, for its part, will continue to work for an effective and credible human rights body that is consistent in its principles and its actions.

Veterans Affairs
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, by the end of the day, Canada will lose 120 World War II and Korean veterans and/or their spouses due to the aging process.

A widow from Cape Breton came to the House to make the Prime Minister keep his promise to extend the VIP immediately, but he told her it would be in the next budget. If that is to be true, and no one trusts the Prime Minister any more, that means 69,000 veterans and their spouses will die before they see the extension of this program.

Why did the Prime Minister break his trust with the widow of a veteran and is this the Canada that the House leader so envisions?

Veterans Affairs
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

New Brunswick Southwest
New Brunswick

Conservative

Greg Thompson Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, we are committed to enhancing that program. The member knows this. In fact, if he were being intellectually honest, he would tell the House that we brought 12,000 people, veterans and spouses, into that program in the last year alone.

When we do it, we want to do it in a way that is consistent with the department and consistent with the good delivery to veterans and widows. We are committed to doing it, and we will get it done.

Fisheries and Oceans
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

NDP

Catherine Bell Vancouver Island North, BC

Mr. Speaker, my constituents are very concerned about the appalling lack of conservation for wild salmon and halibut. Numbers are down and fishermen cannot get their quota, yet DFO insists on extending their openings. The wild salmon policy is clear: conservation first.

Is the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans trying to eliminate the fishing on the west coast or will he commit to increasing funding and staffing for conservation measures to maintain sustainable fish stocks for west coast sport, commercial and native fishermen?

Fisheries and Oceans
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

St. John's South—Mount Pearl
Newfoundland & Labrador

Conservative

Loyola Hearn Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, let me assure the hon. member that this government has put more money into conserving fish on the west coast than any government before it. We have more boarding enforcement officers than ever before.

If the member wants to see what we will really do for the west coast, I suggest to her that she stay tuned.

Canada Summer Jobs
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, let us review the summer jobs fiasco. Let me give the minister a few highlights.

He cancelled a program that worked; brought in one that does not with less money and a new criteria; organizations and students were thrown into disarray; scrambling ensued; and departmental officials admitted in committee that the program was botched. Now the minister refuses to come clean with details about funding.

I want to wish the minister a happy summer, a good guy, but we need to ensure that next year summer will be good for everyone else involved in this program.

When will the government start telling truth about the Canada summer jobs fiasco of 2007?

Canada Summer Jobs
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Medicine Hat
Alberta

Conservative

Monte Solberg Minister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, the truth is students are getting the best jobs they have ever had under the new program. That is the truth.

For my friend, though, I do not care how many times he asks me, he is not young enough to qualify for a Canada summer job. He needs to get that into his head, but failing that, I hope he and his family have a terrific summer.

Health
Oral Questions

June 20th, 2007 / 3:05 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Lemieux Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, heart and other related diseases affect thousands of Canadians every year. Earlier today the Minister of Health announced the government's response to the report by the trans fat task force.

Could the Minister of Health informed the members of the House what our government is doing to help Canadians make healthier food choices?

Health
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka
Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement Minister of Health and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario

Mr. Speaker, today I announced that we are accepting the recommendations of the task force to limit trans fats in our food supply at 2% for vegetable oils and 5% through the rest of the food supply.

We have given industry two years to use market forces, which they are doing. We have cut the trans fat supply in half over the last two years in our food supply because of the results of consumers and industries.

I hope that will make a difference. I think it will make a difference for our health, and I hope it will make a difference for some members of the House as well, because they need the help too.

Presence in Gallery
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

We have several aboriginal veterans with us today.

I would like to draw to the attention of hon. members the presence in the gallery of members of the National Aboriginal Veterans Association, who are here in Ottawa to celebrate National Aboriginal Day tomorrow, June 21.

Presence in Gallery
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear!

Presence in Gallery
Oral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Willowdale is rising on a question of privilege.

Resignation of Member
Oral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

Jim Peterson Willowdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to address you and my colleagues. It is with great emotion that I announce today that after July 12, I will no longer be the federal member for Willowdale.

While this is a very difficult decision for me, we all know a law was passed that would see an election in the fall of 2009. As my good friend and colleague, the hon. member for Toronto Centre, said yesterday, I feel this is the best option we have for renewal and for the voices of tomorrow to be heard in this august chamber.

For the right hon. Prime Minister, while I respectfully understand the calling of a byelection is his sole prerogative, I can assure him that the people of Willowdale will stand behind him if he chooses to do so.

It was a great privilege and a great honour for me to have served in the national capital under this Prime Minister and to have represented the people of Willowdale.

There have been many highlights. I am proud that in 1982, as parliamentary secretary to the minister of justice, the Right Hon. Jean Chrétien, I was able to help pass Criminal Code changes that created the offence of sexual assault and ensured that a woman's previous relationships could no longer be put on trial.

As chair of the finance committee in 1993, the very first duty assigned to me by the prime minister was to find a way to honour our election commitment to replace the GST. We looked at over 20 alternatives and we found one. The conclusion was that we would harmonize the federal sales tax with the provinces. We would have tax included pricing and, most important, we would change the name to the national value added tax.

I can say that former Prime Minister Chrétien was not very happy but former Prime Minister Mulroney was.

The finance minister at the time, the member for LaSalle—Émard, instituted pre budget consultations by the finance committee which continue to this day and have been adopted by other legislatures in Canada and abroad. Our reports were long and scholarly and, as I was so often assured, they were, perhaps sometimes, read by someone in finance.

Secretary of state for financial institutions was an active stint. It included foreign bank branching, a five year review of the Bank Act which resulted in the longest bill to ever hit Parliament, the deneutralization of our insurance companies, FINTRAC to counter money laundering, major reforms to the office of the ombudsman and four major financial institution mergers without a public furor.

I want to say that our financial institutions in Canada are among our leading corporations and many are global champions. I believe mergers will help our banks remain competitive and that these mergers can be engineered without major job losses or branch closings, as evidenced by the TD Canada Trust merger. We should not fear bank mergers.

As minister of international trade, I received incredible support from the prime minister at the time, the member for LaSalle—Émard, to develop and implement a commercial strategy, not just for the U.S., EU and others, but especially for the Brazils, Russias, Indias and Chinas. We see the strategy being continued today but I believe there is urgency in bringing greater resources and efforts to bear.

I visited China three times and India twice, as well as Russia and Brazil. The prime minister at the time, the member for LaSalle—Émard, was a huge help with these BRICK countries. We visited them and opened doors for Canadians that only a prime minister can open.

India is especially dear to me. Last Saturday night in Toronto, I met with Kamal Nath, India's industry minister. He is a great leader, politician, statesman and friend. Later on in the evening, Heather and I attended the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce dinner where he was a keynote speaker, along with someone else from this House. It was a splendid event.

I remember not only fruitful bilateral dealings with Minister Nath, but our work at the WTO. I especially recall going three days without sleep as we worked in the green room in Geneva at the end of July. It was hot and there was no air conditioning. We opened the windows but there were no screens. Millions of mosquitoes joined us inside but, nevertheless, we achieved a framework agreement for Doha.

Today, success in this realm seems illusive. However, I leave this House believing that a successful outcome of the Doha round is critical. It must be about development and, most important, only the WTO can rein in the obscene agricultural subsidies that we find in the U.S. and in the EU. Bilateral and regional deals will not do it.

Life in the public eye has had some precious moments. A few days after the same sex vote in this House, I was scheduled to attend the laying of a cornerstone at a convent, something I faced with great trepidation. The Mother Superior met me at the gate and said, “Jim, thank you for what you did”. I asked her what she was talking about. She replied, “Your vote for same sex marriage”. I told her that she had to be kidding. She said, “No, Jim, Jesus would want us to be inclusive”.

I am very proud of the parishioners of Newtonbrook United Church who have donated a huge, expensive property at Young and Cummer, raised the money and built 52 affordable housing units. This is a shining example of what more of us might do to help others.

I recall the time I worked long and hard to get a young man with severe disabilities into a proper facility that could cope with his needs. During the next election, I called at the family's door and asked if I could put up a sign. He replied, “No, I am not Liberal”. As members in this House know, one's best efforts are not always met with a reward but that is not the reason that we make those efforts.

There are so many to whom I am grateful. I want to thank the involved, caring and committed people of Willowdale who made my public years possible. To the officers and employees of this House, I thank them for being unfailingly helpful. To the many public servants at finance, trade and elsewhere, I thank them. They are among the hardest working and ablest people I know. To our extended family of outstanding staffers over the years, to whom I owe so much—would it be in order to recognize them in the gallery?

Resignation of Member
Oral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

No.