House of Commons Hansard #40 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was seniors.

Topics

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

It being Wednesday, we will now have the singing of the national anthem led by the hon. member for Mississauga South.

[Members sang the national anthem]

Joseph Neil Tilley
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Fabian Manning Avalon, NL

Mr. Speaker, on January 26 our province was saddened to hear of the passing of Joseph Neil Tilley.

Neil graduated from Memorial University with a degree in anthropology. While at MUN, he served as president of the students' union. Following his graduation, he worked with the university extension services, which deployed staff in rural areas of Newfoundland to assist communities in self-improvement initiatives.

He travelled extensively throughout the province and many parts of the world to bring his expertise on self-betterment to others less fortunate. Neil also acquired a master's degree in community development and planned to get his doctorate, but became ill before this could be accomplished.

When Neil's work brought him back home to Kelligrews, he reactivated his farm operation and practised organic farming. He acquired the skills and training needed to teach these farming methods to others.

Neil was always interested in the environment and, with others, founded the Kelligrews Ecological Enhancement Program, KEEP, whose mandate in part is to conserve, preserve and enhance.

Neil was a very spiritual man, a man of faith that has never wavered. He was a good man who died too young. His years on earth were filled with accomplishments that most of us can only dream of.

Our deepest sympathies go out to his family and friends.

Father Louis Quinn
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Alan Tonks York South—Weston, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour of rising today to inform the House of a spectacular scene that recently unfolded in the Dominican Republic. A funeral procession for a simple man, in a simple casket, was joined spontaneously by more than 5,000 locals pouring down the hills from a picturesque Dominican town.

They paid their respects to a man who taught for 60 years and who comforted and inspired Dominicans in all corners of their island nation. They honoured a man who led initiatives that saw 600 kilometres of roads paved, 2,000 homes built, 69 schools constructed, 11 medical clinics created, and the construction of 13 community centres.

That man was Father Louis Quinn. He was a man of God, a missionary, an incredible champion for the Dominican people, and he was a Canadian. Born in Toronto, Father Quinn brought love, selflessness and advocacy to distant Caribbean shores. It was said by the Dominican president that his nation would never forget Father Quinn.

I hope that all members of this House as representatives of our nation will join me in recognizing and saluting the memory of Father Louis Quinn.

Olymel
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, on January 19, the Olymel company, located in the Lanaudière region, donated 60,000 kilos of pork and poultry, worth an estimated $500,000, thus allowing 16,000 poor families and 5,000 underprivileged children to receive this food, through Moisson Lanaudière, in Joliette.

The hon. member for Montcalm and I wish to congratulate the company's CEO, Réjean Nadeau, his unionized employees and their president, Mario Maisonneuve, who agreed to work long hours during three weekends, out of solidarity with all these people. The Lanaudière families in need and the entire community are proud to acknowledge the solidarity displayed by everyone in that company.

On behalf of all my Bloc Québécois colleagues, thank you for your generosity, and congratulations on your fine humanitarian action.

Status of Women
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, January 28 was the 20th anniversary of the Supreme Court of Canada's Morgentaler decision, which decriminalized abortion in Canada. The legal decision was a victory for Canadian women. The court fully recognized that the law was unfair and that it presented unreasonable obstacles to women seeking abortions.

While the Morgentaler decision is something to celebrate, women in Canada still face obstacles in accessing abortion services. The number of hospitals in Canada providing these services is declining and some provincial governments are violating the Canada Health Act by refusing to fund clinics, thus leaving women without the right to choose.

The government is failing ordinary women in Canada by not ensuring equal and accessible abortion services. This is an equality issue and another example of the government's disregard for the welfare and rights of women.

Alzheimer Awareness Month
Statements By Members

January 30th, 2008 / 2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Patrick Brown Barrie, ON

Mr. Speaker, January is Alzheimer Awareness Month. The Alzheimer Society of Canada and its local organizations are asking Canadians to make a commitment to improving their brain health by making changes to help reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer's.

Alzheimer's disease is a degenerative brain disorder that most often occurs in people over the age of 65. Alzheimer's and related diseases affect approximately half a million people in Canada, a number that will double within a generation.

Just this past Sunday, I attended the annual Alzheimer walk in Barrie organized by Erika Rice of the Alzheimer Society of Greater Simcoe County.

We are privileged to have representatives from the Alzheimer Society of Canada here today. They have come to inform us of their efforts to beat the disease in communities across the country and to help educate all citizens about the far-reaching effects of this devastating disease.

I would like to acknowledge the impressive work the society does and encourage my colleagues to attend the coffee break on the Hill event at 3:30 p.m. today to learn about what we can do as individuals and legislators in making the commitment to better brain health.

Red River Floodway
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Raymond Simard Saint Boniface, MB

Mr. Speaker, Manitoba's Red River Floodway is an engineering marvel and it has single-handedly saved Canadians billions of dollars in disaster relief funding over the years.

The floodway is currently undergoing a major expansion, with the federal government contributing 50% of the total costs, but there is a catch.

Manitoba Liberal MPs fought extremely hard to secure the first half of the funding from the Canada strategic infrastructure fund, having convinced the Liberal cabinet of the day that this project was of national significance.

The current regional minister, the member of Parliament for Provencher, does not believe this and is planning on paying for the second portion with funds that would normally be allocated to other Manitoba infrastructure priorities, and this in a have not province.

Manitobans are being robbed of $170 million by the Conservative government. This is wrong. They should be outraged.

The floodway expansion is a project of national importance and we need a minister who believes this, a minister who will not cave in to his cabinet colleagues every time. In fact, we need a new government that will fight for Manitoba.

Human Rights
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Nepean—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, last week UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour welcomed the coming into force of the Arab charter, which calls for “rejecting all forms of racism and Zionism” and says that Zionism is “a violation of human rights” and poses “a threat” to world peace.

Eradicating Zionism would mean the eradication of the Jewish state. The Canadian government does not support Ms. Arbour in her endorsement of this goal. In fact, we call on Ms. Arbour to apologize, renounce the Arab charter and state unequivocally that Zionism is a perfectly legitimate movement.

Here at home, the Liberal Party must make clear its own position on the Arab charter. Saying one thing to one group and something different to another is deceptive.

Parliament should stand with one voice, condemn Ms. Arbour's remarks and support our democratic allies in Israel.

Manufacturing and Forestry Industries
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Vincent Shefford, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government continues to ignore the thousands of workers in the manufacturing and forestry industries in Quebec. The announcement made on January 10 angered everyone affected by the worst crisis ever to hit the manufacturing and forestry industries, which are vital to Quebec's economy.

Quebec will receive only $216 million of the $1 billion spread over three years. This is a pittance when you consider that during the same period the rich oil companies in the west will benefit from tax reductions totalling $2.8 billion.

In acting in this way, the right-wing Conservative government is thumbing its nose at the 43,000 workers in these sectors who lost their jobs in 2007. Despite the pressing need for assistance, this government has the gall to make this aid conditional on approval of the budget. This is blackmail. The silence of the Conservative members from Quebec is confirmation that only the Bloc Québécois members are defending the interests of the manufacturing and forestry industries in Quebec.

National Red Scarf Day
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Lynne Yelich Blackstrap, SK

Mr. Speaker, tomorrow, January 31, is National Red Scarf Day. Twelve year old Miss Hannah Taylor initiated this campaign. As a young child, she witnessed a person homeless and hungry and was moved to take action to combat homelessness in Canada.

The Minister of Human Resources and Social Development and I met with this charming young lady this morning to express our government's support for her great work.

We recognize that a safe and stable home is an important first step on the path out of poverty. Our new homelessness partnering strategy works with other levels of government, the private sector and community organizations like Hannah's Ladybug Foundation to implement solutions that address local problems. Together, our work is delivering results.

We recognize National Red Scarf Day. On behalf of the government, I am pleased to acknowledge the valuable work of Hannah Taylor, the Ladybug Foundation and the Canadians who support this worthy cause. We thank Hannah.

Alzheimer's Disease
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett St. Paul's, ON

Mr. Speaker, Alzheimer's disease indiscriminately affects close to half a million Canadians, robbing them of their memory, their ability to reason, and ultimately their independence, and yet there are changes in our lives that we can make to reduce the risk.

I hope that my parliamentary colleagues will spend their coffee break with the representatives of the Alzheimer Society and find out more about how to boost brain health in Canada.

I would also like to pay tribute to Sarah Polley's moving film, Away from Her, based on Alice Munro's short story, which illuminates the heartbreak of Alzheimer's. The film has been nominated for two Oscars. I want to congratulate Ms. Polley and Telefilm Canada.

As Canadians, we should call upon the government to ensure it mounts a proper campaign to make sure that we win those Oscars for an even greater awareness of Alzheimer's and the fabulous Canadian film industry.

Aboriginal Affairs
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Rod Bruinooge Winnipeg South, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is shocking that first nations people on reserve are denied the same human rights protections that all other Canadians enjoy.

After 30 years of this discrimination, our Conservative government is set to pass Bill C-21 in order to heal this scar. However, today, in the aboriginal affairs committee, after delaying the bill for more than a year, the Liberals, NDP and Bloc are conspiring to pass amendments that will nullify the effectiveness of this bill.

Former Liberal minister of Indian affairs, Robert Nault, has urged that this legislation be passed immediately. He says that it is a way to prove Canada is serious about equality, but fellow Liberals are not listening.

Yesterday, the Canadian Human Rights Commission released a report urging support for the bill. Yet again, the Liberals are just sitting on their hands.

As an aboriginal Canadian, I am offended by the actions of the Liberals over the last year. I demand that they end their anti-rights agenda and pass the bill without watering it down.

Alzheimer's Disease
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak on a matter dear to my heart: the urgent need to declare dementia a national health priority.

The most prevalent dementia, Alzheimer's, is a degenerative brain disorder with no known cure, affecting one in thirteen Canadians over sixty-five. Only a national Alzheimer's strategy supported by increased funding for research, treatment and care and more adequate protection for vulnerable adults will prevent this deadly disease from overwhelming our human services system.

Family caregivers in homes and institutions in every community struggle to care for those suffering from Alzheimer's. They deserve our support. After question period today, our Speaker has invited every MP to learn more about the Heads Up for Healthier Brains campaign being waged by Alzheimer Society of Canada.

The Alzheimer's challenge cuts across political party lines and regional divides. I call upon all members of Parliament to come together and work together to meet this challenge.

Human Rights
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Neville Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, last week three parties in the House of Commons came together to support the government's decision to withdraw from the Durban Review Conference. The conference became a platform for blatant anti-Semitism, making a mockery of the fight against racism.

Yesterday, the meanspirited government could not resist the opportunity to politicize the issue. The member for Calgary Southeast irresponsibly misrepresented the multi-partisan support for the decision to withdraw from the conference. His intemperate comments undermine the constant struggle against racism.

On Monday, in the House, I called on the government to halt funding to non-governmental organizations that would be attending the conference. Yesterday, it took that step. Still, Canada should do much more to lead the fight against racism. Instead of taking the lead, the government attempted to smear members on this side of the House.

The government must stop playing petty partisan games and come together with all members of the House in the fight against racism.

Minister of Public Works and Government Services
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Meili Faille Vaudreuil-Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, Michael Fortier, an unelected minister, does not hesitate to give lessons in democracy to the elected members of this House, which is quite surprising given that he refused to run in the recent byelection in Quebec.

He is perverting democracy by implying that he is elected, opening campaign offices in my riding and making government announcements in the company of Conservative candidates.

This is the same Michael Fortier, the Minister of Public Works and Government Services, whose office is currently embroiled in allegations of political interference, as we learned yesterday.

These are just a few examples of how this government pays lip service to the idea of democracy, which it blithely uses for blatantly partisan purposes.