House of Commons Hansard #92 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was trade.

Topics

400th Anniversary of Quebec City
Oral Questions

May 9th, 2008 / 11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Luc Malo Verchères—Les Patriotes, QC

Mr. Speaker, the “almost-queen” of Canada continues to deny the existence of the Quebec nation in her speeches in France. For this government, recognizing the nation was simple duplicity and politicking. By trying to rewrite history as they are doing, they are ridiculing Quebeckers.

Will the Prime Minister admit that by changing history and by making Quebec City's 400th anniversary celebrations Canada's celebrations, he is showing contempt for the Quebec nation and denying its existence?

400th Anniversary of Quebec City
Oral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Pontiac
Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, again, our colleagues from the Bloc Québécois seem to want to get a lot of mileage out of the 400th anniversary celebrations. For our part, we are very proud to have not only contributed financially, but also to have very actively participated in the 400th anniversary celebrations. All of the Conservative members from the greater Quebec City area who were voted in during the last election will be there. And they will be there to celebrate Quebec as a part of Canada.

400th Anniversary of Quebec City
Oral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Luc Malo Verchères—Les Patriotes, QC

Mr. Speaker, will the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities admit that 1608 marks the founding of Quebec City and not the founding of Canada, and that his attempt to hijack the founding of Quebec City, birthplace of the Quebec nation, serves to deny the very existence of that nation?

400th Anniversary of Quebec City
Oral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Pontiac
Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, no one here is denying the existence of the nation. We even had to force the Bloc Québécois, against its will, to vote for the Quebec nation within a united Canada. Why? Because twice Quebeckers have said “yes” to Canada. What does it not understand? It is common sense: Quebeckers want to remain a part of Canada.

Inter-Parliamentary Union
Oral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government has imposed conditions on the world conference of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, such that efforts to have Quebec City host this event in 2010 could be irreparably compromised.

Does the government not think it would do better to enforce the rules in effect at the UN instead of taking a purely ideological approach and trying to amend the existing rules, which suit the 163 members of this international association of parliamentarians?

Inter-Parliamentary Union
Oral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Souris—Moose Mountain
Saskatchewan

Conservative

Ed Komarnicki Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Simply put, Mr. Speaker, a blanket upfront guarantee of visa issuance is not possible for over 1,500 participants from over 150 countries. However, we can say that we will treat all applications dispassionately and properly. They will be examined carefully and moved along expeditiously.

Inter-Parliamentary Union
Oral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, this association was founded in 1889, and not one of the 163 member countries except Canada has a problem with the rules that govern how the association operates.

Why is the government being so inflexible, if it is not out of ideological rigidity, which is completely unwarranted under the circumstances? Have a little flexibility, please. Help Quebec City get the conference.

Inter-Parliamentary Union
Oral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Souris—Moose Mountain
Saskatchewan

Conservative

Ed Komarnicki Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Absolutely, Mr. Speaker, we want Quebec to host this convention along with other important events being held. We will do everything possible to be flexible. Where necessary, temporary resident permits will be issued to ensure the events take place and the participants can come as and when required.

Justice
Oral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Commissioner of Official Languages said yesterday that in order for the defendants to have effective access to superior courts in the official language of their choice, it is essential that these courts have a sufficient number of bilingual judges. If not, access to justice in both official languages is compromised.

Does the Minister of Justice believe that Supreme Court justices should be bilingual?

Justice
Oral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Fundy Royal
New Brunswick

Conservative

Rob Moore Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, as we all know, the government is responsible for the appointment of the next justice of the Supreme Court of Canada. We recognize the need to act in a timely manner to fill this vacancy.

However, I should say to the hon. member that if he is so concerned about bilingualism in our courts, he should speak with his unelected Liberal colleagues in the Senate, who are holding up Bill C-13, a bill that will ensure access to both official languages in Canada.

Justice
Oral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, that has nothing to do with it. I agree with the Commissioner of Official Languages that the highest court of the land must reflect the bijural and bilingual values and identity of this country. Accordingly, its justices must be bilingual. I know that the Minister of the Environment does not believe in bilingualism; he demonstrated that the Montfort Hospital case.

Accordingly, these justices must be bilingual, in other words, judges must grasp legal nuances in both English and French. Laws are not translated; they are written in two different versions. I will introduce a private members' bill soon to amend the Official Languages Act. However, we can save some time.

Can the Minister of Canadian Heritage, Status of Women and Official Languages ensure that we change—

Justice
Oral Questions

11:40 a.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker Bill Blaikie

The parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada.

Justice
Oral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Fundy Royal
New Brunswick

Conservative

Rob Moore Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the government will continue to be guided by principles of merit and legal excellence in the selection and appointment of judges to Canada's Superior and Federal Courts, including the Supreme Court, while remaining vigilant in seeking competence in both official languages. Each and every one of our 159 judicial appointments reflects these principles.

I do want to quote the hon. member for Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, who said, “So far, on the justice end of it, they look like pretty good appointments and I am glad they are filling the vacancies”. We agree.

Official Languages
Oral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Raymond Simard Saint Boniface, MB

Mr. Speaker, every month that goes by without a new official languages action plan costs minority language communities $18 million. So far, that represents a loss of nearly $27 million that could have been used to fund services that communities really need.

Can the Minister of Canadian Heritage, Status of Women and Official Languages tell us why phase two of the action plan has not been launched?

Official Languages
Oral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell
Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Lemieux Parliamentary Secretary for Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, we have made a strong commitment to phase two of the action plan. We are working on it. The minister made it clear that phase two would be launched in the spring.