House of Commons Hansard #72 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was years.

Topics

Budget Implementation Act, 2008
Government Orders

10:50 a.m.

Bloc

Nicole Demers Laval, QC

Mr. Speaker, I listened with a great deal of interest to the presentation by my colleague from Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert. I was glad she mentioned how badly women have been neglected in this budget.

I would like her to give me her opinion about the fact that, in its platform, the Conservative government says that it will come up with a plan to help women achieve equality, yet all the plans it has put forward to date lack vision. As a result, we have quite frequently voted against these plans.

Could she also comment on the fact that, in its budget, the Conservative government has allocated only $20 million for the status of women, which represents $1.21 per woman for the whole year? What does she think of this position?

In addition, what does she think about the fact that defence spending has risen by 69% in the past 10 years, whereas social spending has increased by only 0.6%, as the lack of social housing will attest?

Budget Implementation Act, 2008
Government Orders

10:50 a.m.

Bloc

Carole Lavallée Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, I cannot say that I am unhappy with this question. In fact, the status of women has always been of great importance to me.

I had the pleasure of contributing to the founding of the Fédération des femmes du Québec a few years ago. I hardly dare say that it was 35 years ago, but I was quite young; I was very precocious.

On a more serious note, this government's attitude towards women and gender equality is quite disturbing. It is very worrisome for all manner of reasons, including the cuts to Status of Women Canada. Its core funding was slashed. It was an organization that performed very well and promoted gender equality. The reasons given by the government are ridiculous pretexts.

I am somewhat concerned about the plan that the Conservatives wish to present. I speak for myself but I also know, from speaking to many other women, that there is a great deal of concern about the actions of this government.

We know that it pays a great deal of attention and is more responsive to the lobbying group, REAL Women, which promotes the interests of women who stay at home. That is not a choice for me. We all have the choice of working or staying at home. But when a government implements measures that are of greater benefit to women at home under the pretext of supporting families, that is worrisome.

It is also troubling when this government supports one of its members who promotes in this House a bill which, under the pretext of protecting pregnant women, represents a first attack against the right to abortion. It is very disturbing. Hence, not—

Budget Implementation Act, 2008
Government Orders

10:55 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Order, please. The honourable Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons wishes to rise on a point of order.

Remarks by Member for Regina--Lumsden--Lake Centre
Privilege
Government Orders

10:55 a.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre
Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of privilege and I thank you for recognizing me.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to offer through you and to you and to every member in the House my deepest apologies for some profoundly unacceptable and offensive remarks that I have made in the past which have recently come to the public forum, particularly in the last 24 hours.

Despite the fact that I made these comments just about 17 years ago does not lessen the shame that I feel for making those comments in the first place, nor does it diminish the hurtful aspect of those comments that were contained in my remarks of 1991. Therefore, I feel absolutely compelled that I must stand here today and publicly apologize to a number of people.

First and foremost, I want to apologize to all of my friends and colleagues who are gay or lesbian. I have no idea what they must think of me now. I have no idea what they were thinking when they first heard or read about my comments. To say that I am ashamed is not putting it in context and certainly not putting it in strong enough terms.

Their friendship and support for me during my entire career and my personal life has been extremely important to me, and today I ask their forgiveness. Just being in the public sphere means little to me compared to the opinion that I value of their opinion toward me, and to them I say I am truly sorry.

To the entire gay and lesbian community, I also want to extend my deepest and most abject apologies.

The comments I made should not be tolerated in any society. They should not be tolerated today. They should not have been tolerated in 1991. They should not have been tolerated in years previous to that. The words I used were more than just hurtful. They are words that should not be allowed to be spoken today, either publicly or privately.

I know there is an awful lot of anger directed toward me from members of the gay and lesbian community. That anger is certainly understandable and, I would say, it is justified. All I can say is that I hope that over the passage of time, my apologies will be accepted.

There are many other people to whom I need to apologize because of their relationship to me. Because of that relationship the criticisms that will be made directed toward me will end up affecting these people. They will in effect probably bear the brunt of much of that criticism, when in fact they had absolutely nothing to do with this incident.

To my family, to my friends, to my colleagues, to my staff, to my Prime Minister, to the people of Saskatchewan and, most particularly, to the people of Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, I offer not only my apologies for my remarks, but I apologize for the embarrassment and the hurt that I have surely caused them.

I also want to make a comment to the hon. member for Burnaby—Douglas who raised this issue in question period yesterday. I simply want to thank the hon. member for allowing me to personally apologize to him. He accepted my phone call with that in mind. I will never forget the member's generosity and kindness.

There are times when people say things they do not mean, and this is one of those times with respect to my comments. While it is very, very true I made those hurtful comments, they do not reflect my personal beliefs. They did not reflect my personal beliefs in 1991. They do not reflect my personal beliefs now, which lends itself to the obvious question, if I did not mean what I said, why did I say those things to begin with?

The only explanation that I can give to you, Mr. Speaker, and to the members of this House is that I was stupid, thoughtless and insensitive. I am not using that as a defence. I am merely stating the way that I felt and the actions that I took.

Let me conclude by saying that there is absolutely nothing I could say inside or outside of this assembly that would be an adequate apology to those people whom I have hurt. I deeply regret and I have deep remorse for my words of 17 years ago. I can assure you, Mr. Speaker, and all of my colleagues in this House that I will spend the rest of my career and my life trying to make up for those shameful comments.

Remarks by Member for Regina--Lumsden--Lake Centre
Privilege
Government Orders

11 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

I thank the hon. parliamentary secretary for his difficult remarks.

Brandon's Business Person of the Year
Statements By Members

11 a.m.

Conservative

Merv Tweed Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to salute and offer congratulations to Mr. Paul Crane of Brandon, Manitoba, who was recently named Brandon's Business Person of the Year. Mr. Crane joins a very distinguished group of Brandon business people in being the 27th recipient of this prestigious award.

Paul and his wife, Gail, established Crane Steel Structures in 1981. Expanding it to Winnipeg in 1985, their business has developed into one of the largest design build contractors specializing in pre-engineered steel buildings.

Chamber President Lee Bass summed it up best by stating, “Paul's honesty and integrity in business dealings and in community dealings are beyond reproach”.

Paul Crane is quick to credit his family and his staff, whose support and hard work have made Crane Steel what it is today.

On behalf of the people of Brandon—Souris, I want to congratulate Paul Crane, Brandon's Business Person of the Year.

Ontario Budget
Statements By Members

April 4th, 2008 / 11 a.m.

Liberal

Alan Tonks York South—Weston, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Ontario budget offered a balanced approach to fiscal management with these elements of responsible leadership: investments in manufacturing, funding for job creation, targeted poverty reduction, and competitive taxes.

In his speech before the legislature, Ontario's finance minister addressed these areas where partnerships would serve Ontarians and Canadians better: strategic investment in transit, addressing congestion and climate change; a federal initiative to increase transfers for settlement services to match other provinces; and creation of a new border crossing at Windsor, the busiest international trade link in the world.

Ontario is moving forward with health care, infrastructure, manufacturing initiatives and appears to be in tune with mainstream thinking on what drives long term economic growth.

Historically, Ontarians in good times and bad have contributed through equalization to maintain a strong and fair union, and truly in the words of Robert Louis Stevenson, have been an honest and reliable friend.

I am certain this House agrees that it is in the national interest to nurture that friendship through partnerships that inspire a new legacy of hope for Ontarians and all Canadians.

Martin Luther King, Jr.
Statements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Bloc

Raymond Gravel Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, Martin Luther King was assassinated 40 years ago today in Memphis. We all recall his famous speech, which is forever etched in our memories, entitled “I have a dream”, condemning the segregation of blacks in the United States. His action resulted in the adoption of legislation guaranteeing blacks the same rights as whites in public places and polling stations.

Dr. King fought for equality between whites and blacks and received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. He was a hero of the black civil rights movement and advocated a fairer distribution of wealth and social justice. The night before he died, Reverend Martin Luther King said he wanted to live a long time. The next day he was assassinated at the age of 39.

Forty years later, his spirit lives on in those who believe in justice, equality and freedom. Let us pay tribute to this great man today and keep in mind the principle of equality among people in our actions as legislators in this House.

Animal Cruelty
Statements By Members

11:05 a.m.

NDP

Peter Julian Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, tragically, animal abuse and cruelty are alive and well in this country. A quick glance at recent news headlines makes the case: a man threw five puppies down an outhouse pit; a cat was cooked to death in a microwave by a group of teens; a cat was strangled and hung for public display; 27 horses were found dead from starvation.

Canadians have been trying to strengthen Canada's 115-year-old animal cruelty laws, but Canada's federal governments have shamefully refused to pass tougher animal cruelty sentences.

Of Canadians polled, 93% support tough anti-animal cruelty legislation, including law enforcement officers, researchers, farmers, hunters and animal welfare organizations.

We need to crack down on animal abusers with long overdue tough legislation in the country. We will not achieve this through Bill S-203.

I stand with my NDP colleagues to demand that the government end the neglect and cruelty by bringing forward genuine animal protection laws immediately.

Hockeyville Contest
Statements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

Fabian Manning Avalon, NL

Mr. Speaker, Newfoundlanders and Labradorians love the sport of hockey. I am proud to stand and offer a show of support to the town of Port-aux-Basque on its selection as one of the top five entries in the Hockeyville contest.

Mr. Andrew Parsons has led the charge for the gateway town to be named Hockeyville, the Canadian community that best embodies the spirit of hockey and hometown pride.

The town has been awarded $20,000 for arena upgrades for making it to the top five and now hopes to be selected number one. The winner of the competition will receive $100,000 for its local arena and will host an NHL exhibition game next September.

The town's contest entry has focused on the economic difficulty faced by small rural towns, yet hockey bonds the communities together and remains strong in spite of all the other challenges.

The town has had its challenges with its rink burning down one September, but it was able to have a new multi-million dollar facility constructed and people skating in November in the following year.

The community is thrilled with making it to the top five and hockey fever is high. We applaud the community's spirit, team effort and success to date and are rooting for them to take home the big prize.

The Environment
Statements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Tina Keeper Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, one year ago the town of Leaf Rapids in the Churchill riding banned single-use plastic bags. This ambitious move was the first of its kind in North America. Now it is a regular part of life in this northern town that people utilize reusable bags.

Today, cities big and small are catching on, including a recent ban in San Francisco, California.

The results are clear. It is a policy that works and it is an example of how we can all contribute to a cleaner environment in Canada. Prior to the ban, plastic bags could be found on the sides of roads, stuck in trees and made up a sizeable and unnecessary portion of local landfill. Since the ban was implemented, it has been greatly reduced.

I would like to commend the environmental stewardship of the community of Leaf Rapids and encourage others to look to the north for an inspirational and progressive model toward a greener future.

Cancer
Statements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

Steven Fletcher Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia, MB

Mr. Speaker, April is the Canadian Cancer Society's Daffodil Month, in recognition of the millions of Canadians touched by cancer.

In November 2006, the Prime Minister announced the creation of the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer. This organization is responsible for the implementation of the Canadian strategy for cancer control, a $260 million investment in support of a pan-Canadian cancer control across the country.

CPAC will work with governments and non-governmental partners to support the goals of the Canadian strategy for cancer control, which are to reduce the number of new cancer cases and the number of deaths, as well as to enhance the quality of life of those living with the disease. These efforts will result in state of the art information about preventing, diagnosing and treating cancer, as well as encouraging new research across the cancer control spectrum being shared across the country.

I encourage all Canadians to join in the fight against cancer.

French Language and Culture Advocacy Group
Statements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Bloc

Richard Nadeau Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, Impératif français has awarded its Lyse-Daniels, Gaston-Lallement and Impératif français prizes.

Lyse-Daniels prizes are awarded to individuals and organizations that have excelled in their contribution to promoting and protecting the French language and French culture.

The Gaston-Lallement next generation prize is awarded to students at secondary schools and CEGEPs who participate in Des mots pour le dire, a poetry contest.

The Impératif français prize salutes an individual who has made an exceptional contribution to the vitality of French culture. The prize was awarded to Louise Beaudoin, a former Parti Québécois minister, for her remarkable contribution to promoting la Francophonie and cultural diversity.

Congratulations to the winners, and to Impératif français, who care so deeply about our language, the French language.

International Mine Action Day
Statements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Conservative

Kevin Sorenson Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate our Prime Minister, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of National Defence for a job well done at the NATO summit this week.

Canadians are also very proud of our government's international leadership in helping to clear landmines.

Today is International Mine Action Day. More than 80 countries around the world are still affected by landmines killing and injuring innocent children at play and farmers as they work daily.

Afghanistan continues to be one of the most heavily mined countries in the world. Canada is the world's leader in deactivating and destroying landmines in Afghanistan. Working alongside the Afghan government and the United Nations Mine Action Service, Canada is making a big difference in the lives of the people of Afghanistan. This is yet another example of how Canadians are helping to rebuild Afghanistan.

With our nation's ongoing commitment to the international community, we will continue to see positive change. Our Conservative government is getting things done for Canadians and the international community.

Cancer Awareness Month
Statements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Ottawa South, ON

Mr. Speaker, April is Cancer Awareness Month, a time to reflect on the devastating effect this disease has year after year.

Who unfortunately does not know someone, perhaps a loved one, who has suffered from this terrible disease?

The statistics are distressing. Nearly 159,000 people suffered from cancer in 2007 and 72,000 died of the disease. Men, women, children, seniors are all affected and, despite our efforts and scientific advancements, the disease is still with us.

However, we must not give up the fight against this terrible affliction. That is why we must take the opportunity presented by Cancer Awareness Month to appeal to the government to increase efforts to find a cure for cancer.

I therefore ask all my colleagues to join me in sending a message of hope to all those who suffer from this disease. One day, we will find a cure.