House of Commons Hansard #59 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was seniors.

Topics

Financial Statement of Minister of Finance
The Budget
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Andrew Scheer

We will have the five minute question and comment period after question period. As it is two o'clock, we will move on to statements by members.

Olivier Villeneuve
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

Luc Harvey Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, today I will not be talking about the Bloc Québécois. I have something much more important to talk about. I would like to tell you about an 11-year-old boy.

This little boy's life has been a struggle since day one. Before his first birthday, he went through three heart operations and spent over 80% of his life in the hospital. To illustrate just how big a challenge he faced, he had to relearn how to eat at 18 months because he had been force-fed continuously since birth.

Now, he goes to school and dance class, and he participates in lots of other activities. Little Olivier Villeneuve has shown the kind of courage that so many should find inspiring. There were many times when he could have given up, but that was not his way: he did not know how to give up or back down; he only knew how to forge ahead.

I thank Olivier for setting an excellent example for everyone who knows you. I salute and respect him.

Marion Christie
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honour the memory of Marion Christie, who passed away at her home on February 23. On April 5, she would have turned 102.

Known as Bedford's matriarch, Marion Christie was a wonderful volunteer who made a lasting impact on her community through a lifetime of dedicated involvement.

She spent decades educating and informing residents of Bedford as a teacher and journalist and still she found time to participate in numerous volunteer endeavours and public speaking engagements.

Marion Christie was active in all aspects of life in Bedford, especially Bedford United Church, where she was an honorary elder and honorary historian and held a UCW life membership.

Scott Manor House was one of her major interests. Until late 2007, she presided at the reading room. A meticulous historian, she kept detailed scrapbooks which chronicled events in Bedford.

She was a remarkable woman who was loved and respected by all.

Second International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

France Bonsant Compton—Stanstead, QC

Mr. Speaker, as I am sure you are aware, 2001 to 2011 has been declared the Second International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism. It deserves to be recognized.

More than 60 years after the UN declared the right to self-determination and even after the withdrawal of European countries from Africa, colonialism still exists. This colonialism is more insidious than at the time of the conquest, but the fact remains that certain populations and nations are still trying to assimilate others through their actions and their values.

When I see the Conservatives' attitude towards the French language today and their actions that go against the values of Quebeckers, and above all, when I see members from Quebec acting against the best interest of their nation, I wish that colonialism really was a thing of the past.

Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Wayne Marston Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, ON

Mr. Speaker, multiple sclerosis is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects the central nervous system. Most commonly it begins in young adulthood. In Canada, it is the most common neurological disease affecting young adults.

When one learns that Canadians have one of the highest rates of MS in the world and that every day three more Canadians are diagnosed with MS, it would be easy to get discouraged. The dedicated volunteers and activists of the Hamilton chapter of the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada refuse to be discouraged. Their work in my community is inspiring.

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to attend a benefit for the Hamilton chapter. With over 500 people in attendance, it raised over $30,000 to fight MS in our community. I would like to recognize the work of John Fuca, whose family put on this eighth annual edition of this event in our community.

My sincerest thanks go out to Mr. Fuca and his family, along with the honorary MC, Angelo Mosca, former CFL player and member of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame, and all the other volunteers who made Sunday's event such an amazing success.

As a community, we can beat MS.

Afghan Women Parliamentarians
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Cheryl Gallant Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, in the lead-up to International Women's Day, our government is hosting the first ever delegation of Afghan women parliamentarians to Canada. Their role in shaping Afghanistan's future is a symbol of progress and of hope.

These parliamentarians have been invited to Canada to take part in a capacity building program that will address issues including women's rights and the roles women parliamentarians can play on issues relating to nation building, conflict resolution and peace building.

While we as Canadians are doing our part to transform Afghan civil society, it is the people of Afghanistan who will be the agents for real and long term change.

The active participation of Afghan women in Afghanistan's political future shows that their society is changing and that the foundations are being laid for the future.

We are deeply honoured by their visit and we look forward to continued cooperation and exchanges with them and their colleagues.

I hope all members of Parliament will join me in welcoming them to Parliament Hill today.

Health
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

John Maloney Welland, ON

Mr. Speaker, many Canadians, especially children, are being exposed to dangerous toxic products. Lead-based paint on children's toys as well as plastic bottles containing bisphenol A are threatening the health and safety of all citizens.

Bisphenol A is a chemical used in the creation of plastic food containers and baby bottles and has been known to cause many adverse health effects. The leaching of this chemical has led to trace amounts being found in human tissues and also has been associated with causing developmental problems, including cancer, obesity and early puberty, to name a few.

Some Canadian companies have already removed merchandise containing this toxic chemical from their shelves. Others are still looking to the federal government to provide guidance on the safety of such products.

I call on the government to take immediate action to ban harmful products of this nature from retailers' shelves and to prohibit such products from entering our country. The health and safety of Canadians must be protected without qualification.

Alberta Election
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Brian Storseth Westlock—St. Paul, AB

Mr. Speaker, we in the Alberta federal caucus are proud of many things in our great province, not the least of which is the fact that we are rat free.

For weeks the opposition parties and the national media were convinced that the winds of change were blowing across the prairies, but once again a warm chinook wind has taken over Alberta.

Albertans have decided on a change that works for them. With 52% of the vote, Premier Stelmach will be bringing 28 new Conservative MLAs with him to the legislature, with 72 of 83 seats.

Albertans have chosen a leader who brings a mature, professional approach to federal–provincial relations and a Conservative government that leads on issues such as the environment, health care, infrastructure and accountability.

Albertans have once again proven that in Alberta good guys still do finish first.

I extend congratulations to Premier Stelmach and his government.

The Conservative Government
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, we are accustomed to not receiving satisfactory answers to our questions. However, last Thursday, the Conservative ministers reached new heights of ineptitude. Their answers had absolutely nothing to do with the important questions we asked.

The Minister of Human Resources and Social Development was particularly adept at this when he spoke about the Mental Health Commission in response to a question on social housing. When asked another question about the fiscal imbalance, he spoke about the student loans program. His colleague, the Minister of Justice, spoke about the tackling violent crime act in response to a question about a young girl who was able to leave Canada and go to Morocco unaccompanied and without permission.

This type of attitude demonstrates the disregard of the Conservatives for citizens who find themselves in difficult situations. The lack of interest in the questions of opposition members and the failure to take them seriously shows a lack of respect for the House and is an insult to the Quebec nation, which democratically chose to be represented by a majority of Bloc Québécois MPs.

The Budget
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Daniel Petit Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Mr. Speaker, in the budget tabled on February 26, 2008, our government put words into action, by creating the Canada Employment Insurance Financing Board, an independent crown corporation that will ensure that EI premiums are dedicated exclusively to the EI program.

This is a pivotal event when it comes to the protection of premiums paid by workers as well as employers.

By opposing the Conservatives' third budget, the Bloc Québécois is once again letting down Quebec workers. The Bloc members should know that doing an about-face and voting against workers is not a value admired by Quebeckers.

If we think about it, this party, which should never have even become one, is aptly named. Since it is unable to get anything done, all the Bloc Québécois can do is block things, while our government is determined to build a stronger Quebec and a better Canada.

Fortunately for Quebec workers, the Conservatives are in their path delivering the goods.

Post-Secondary Education
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, today members of the Liberal caucus met with representatives from polytechnic schools across Canada. We have seven polytechnics with 37 campuses and approximately 94,000 full time students, and many more part time.

These are unique institutions that offer students a wide range of educational options, including undergrad degrees, diplomas, apprenticeships, postgrad certificates and complete student mobility. They partner with industry to address skills shortages and quickly develop solutions.

These schools help keep Canada at the forefront of the business and technology sectors by using a combination of theoretical learning and applied research targeted at the most dynamic areas of our economy.

We need more research funding in Canada, including the applied research offered by the polytechnics.

Canada is the only OECD country that does not have a national credential framework, which would help students transfer between universities, polytechnics and colleges and increase international recognition.

I want to acknowledge and thank our polytechnics for the excellent programs they provide to students across Canada. I urge all members to visit these campuses and experience the great work they do.

Liberal Party of Canada
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Mike Lake Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont, AB

Mr. Speaker, last night, during the broadcast of election results coming out of Alberta, a CBC analyst commented that it might be time for the provincial Liberals to consider a name change due to the damage the federal Liberals have done to the Liberal brand.

With last evening's vote here in the House of Commons on the Liberal budget amendment, the Liberal Party dealt itself another devastating body blow. Unbelievably, only seven Liberals even bothered to show up to vote for their own amendment.

I know the Liberals have been abandoning ship at an alarming rate and, sitting here on the Liberal side, I am used to being surrounded by a sea of empty seats, but last night's vote only highlights the Liberals' growing internal confusion and disinterest, resulting from their complete void of coherent leadership.

As it seeks to address its growing internal crisis, perhaps the Liberal Party should consider stepping aside for the time being and relinquishing its official opposition status to an opposition party that, while terribly misguided, at least knows what it stands for.

Salmon Habitat Restoration Program
Statements By Members

March 4th, 2008 / 2:10 p.m.

NDP

Penny Priddy Surrey North, BC

Mr. Speaker, I frequently hear the statement that the environment and youth are the keys to our future.

The city of Surrey has a program that exemplifies those two things. It is called SHaRP, salmon habitat restoration program. This program has provided career oriented training and employment to hundreds of high school and post-secondary students.

Over its 12 years of operation, SHaRP has been recognized as an innovation that promotes sustainability and assists students to fund their education. The goal is to rehabilitate creeks and streams to improve salmon habitat.

The students are involved with ravine cleanup, stream bank planting, spawning bed enhancements and minor erosion control works. Over 100 tonnes of debris have been removed from local creeks, 5,300 plants have been established in riparian zones and there has been the stabilization of over 100 metres of creek banks.

Funding comes largely from the city with contributions from the provincial and federal governments, until this year when the federal government decided to withdraw its funding. Youth and the environment are keys to our future.

China
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Raymond Chan Richmond, BC

Mr. Speaker, China has suffered from severe cold weather to an extent not seen in hundreds of years. In Bijie, located in the province of Guizhou, the already very difficult lives of the people living in this mountainous region have been further complicated by the extreme weather conditions.

Twenty of our fellow parliamentarians, along with the Ice Breaking Care Society, have joined together to form the Bijie ice storm relief committee aimed at raising funds to provide emergency relief to these victims.

Mr. Speaker, we thank you for hosting a reception this afternoon to honour the efforts of the committee. I would also like to thank my fellow parliamentarians and members of the committee, some of whom are here today: George Chen, Zhao Zai Chen, Danny Ng, Michael Ching, Kim Kum Chow, Henry Hung, members of the Heart2Heart Club, Ting Ting Wang, Clara Chow, Yuen Li and the many volunteers and artists.

I thank them all for sharing their good fortune with our brothers and sisters in Bijie.

Minister of Public Works and Government Services
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Meili Faille Vaudreuil-Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, in the past two years, Michael Fortier, the unelected minister and senator from Rougemont, was given four opportunities to run for office during byelections in Quebec, but he refused all four. That says a lot about how important he thinks democracy is. This situation cannot go on without being considered an abuse of power. Michael Fortier has no status as a representative of Vaudreuil-Soulanges.

Let us take a moment to discuss his remarks during a broadcast of Tout le monde en parle, about how the other place is expensive, and about how its members do not work very hard. He seems to have learned quickly, because in the past two years, he participated in only five of 34 votes, he delivered two speeches, and he did not even participate in the vote on Bill C-2, which his government deemed a confidence matter.

What did he fail to understand about his own government's expectations, and what does he fail to understand about the concept of democracy? He should face the voters as soon as possible.