House of Commons Hansard #106 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was code.

Topics

Opposition Motion--Conflict of Interest Code
Business of Supply
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker Bill Blaikie

Order, please. I have let the member go on for some time in the hope that he would find a way to make a connection between what he is talking about and the motion that is on the floor. That has not happened for about five minutes now. I would ask the member to please try to respect the rules of relevance.

Opposition Motion--Conflict of Interest Code
Business of Supply
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Navdeep Bains Mississauga—Brampton South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I wanted to illustrate my personal example of the difficulty I had in committee with respect to freedom of speech and the difficulty I had putting forth this report in committee and asking questions in the House. This is tied to the issue of the motion today, which revolves around freedom of speech and parliamentary privileges. This speaks to our ability as opposition members to do our jobs. I was simply illustrating, with examples, the frustration I and many other Canadians have, illustrating a point that has been going on for months and months.

Mr. Speaker, that was the point that I was trying to make and I wanted to be very clear about it. I think it is very relevant in this context and I greatly appreciate your intervention but I wanted to ensure the point was on the record.

As members have said before, this Liberal opposition day motion states:

that, in order to clarify and assure those privileges, Section 3(3) of the Conflict of Interest Code for Members of the House of Commons, which is Appendix I to the Standing Orders of the House of Commons, is amended by deleting the word “or” at the end of paragraph (b) and by adding the following after paragraph (b):

“(b.1) consists of being a party to a legal action relating to actions of the Member as a Member of Parliament; or”;

that, pursuant to section 28(13) of the Conflict of Interest Code, the House refer the Thibault Inquiry Report back to the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner for reconsideration in the light of the amendment to the Code; and

that the House affirm its confidence in the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner.

The point I want to make here is that we have and continue to have confidence in Commissioner Dawson. That is not the issue here today, and I want to be very clear about that because many people must think that we have a particular grievance against the commissioner. We do not. Our issue speaks to that particular report and it speaks to the fact that it does not allow freedom of speech and does not allow parliamentarians to do their jobs, especially opposition members to oppose the government.

I do want to go on and mention another important article in the Edmonton Journal on May 21, 2008, which speaks to this issue. The article reads:

Allowing Dawson the benefit of the doubt, it may well be that parliamentary rules regarding conflict of interest need to be amended.

Frankly, it's a bit shocking that the Harper government--

This is a quote, Mr. Speaker, from the article--

Opposition Motion--Conflict of Interest Code
Business of Supply
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker Bill Blaikie

It does not really matter if it is a quote. You need to substitute the appropriate words.

Opposition Motion--Conflict of Interest Code
Business of Supply
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Navdeep Bains Mississauga—Brampton South, ON

Mr. Speaker, the report alludes to the Prime Minister so I will insert the words “Prime Minister”.

--the [Prime Minister's] government would be engaging in this sort of nonsense, the very same brand of not-so-fancy footwork it once so vocally deplored. Opposition MPs must feel free to ask questions, however inane, embarrassing or clearly in the public interest. If the rules need to be changed, so be it. And as to libel suits, its the government that should chill out.

This article in the Edmonton Journal illustrates the motion put forward by the Liberal Party and the member for Scarborough—Rouge River.

The government cannot silence opposition members. It cannot silence elected officials from doing our job. The government would be setting a very poor precedent. We are elected to represent our constituents and to hold the government accountable.

I am a member of the official opposition and I take immense pride in the fact that I have the ability to ask the government, in the House of Commons and in committee, tough questions on a whole range of issues that speak to political responsibility, to Conservative missteps and numerous other examples. I cited NAFTA-gate because it is an issue with which I am having difficulties.

The government is setting the wrong precedent by trying to sue members of Parliament. As I said before, it is just a matter of time before the Conservatives will be back in opposition and then they will regret this decision and this course of action. They will come to the realization that this has set our country back. Many Canadians have sacrificed much for our freedoms. I do not think the government understands the seriousness of this issue.

The Conservatives cannot sweep issues of a political nature under the rug by setting this precedent.

Opposition Motion--Conflict of Interest Code
Business of Supply
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker Bill Blaikie

I am sorry to interrupt the hon. member but he will have eight minutes left in his speech when we return to this matter.

Statements by members. The hon. member for Barrie.

Barrie Public Safety Scholarship
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

Patrick Brown Barrie, ON

Mr. Speaker, I stand in the House today to congratulate local high school student Joshua Whittingham, who was awarded a $500 cheque for winning the Barrie Public Safety Scholarship Essay Contest. I created this scholarship to help students finance post-secondary education costs.

Maintaining a low crime rate has always been a Barrie trademark. This essay contest is a way to educate our youth on the best ways to maintain Barrie's lifestyle as a safe community.

I would also like to congratulate Algonquin Ridge grade 4 student Meaghen Lavallee-Trobak, who was the runner up in the contest.

It is important to mention the judges in the essay contest: city of Barrie councillor, John Brassard; chief of police, Wayne Frechette; Simcoe County District School Board trustee, Diane Firman; and Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board trustee, Connie Positano.

I would also like to thank Positano Paving, the company that co-sponsored the scholarship.

I would also like to thank all the students who participated in the contest. It is encouraging to know that we have so many bright minds in Barrie and that our youth care about the local community so much.

Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Shawn Murphy Charlottetown, PE

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to recognize Helen MacRae, who last Friday received the Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation award.

Mrs. MacRae is a teacher, choir director, musician and composer who has been entertaining servicemen and servicewomen since the mid 1940s.

She is currently the accompanist for the Canada Remembers Chorus, which entertains veterans in legion halls, nursing homes and other locations around Prince Edward Island.

For the past five years, Mrs. MacRae has also found the time to organize free concerts, featuring wartime music entitled “We'll Meet Again”. These concerts are an eagerly waited afternoon of singing, dancing and reminiscing by veterans.

The commendation is awarded annually to individuals who have contributed in an exemplary manner to the care and well-being of veterans or to the remembrance of the contributions, sacrifices and achievements of veterans.

I ask all members of the House to join me today in congratulating Helen MacRae, a great Prince Edward Islander and a great Canadian.

World Environment Day
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Marcel Lussier Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, Environment Week, which coincides with World Environment Day, is in its 37th year.

This event gives us an opportunity to take stock of how far we have come and how far we have yet to go. According to André Porlier, director of the Montreal regional environmental council, governments are talking about the environment, but they are not taking action or allocating resources.

The Montreal regional conference of elected officials and Équiterre have selected June 5, World Environment Day, to raise people's awareness of environmental issues. They launched the climate challenge for businesses and individuals. The challenge is to commit to doing something for the environment, such as plant a tree.

I invite everyone to participate in taking small steps to help the environment.

Uranium Weapons
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Alex Atamanenko British Columbia Southern Interior, BC

Mr. Speaker, last year, the United Nations First Committee passed a resolution urging member states to re-examine the health hazards posed by the use of uranium weapons.

Belgium has banned the use of uranium in all conventional weapon systems. However, at least 18 countries, including the U.S., use depleted uranium in their arsenals. They are considered weapons of mass destruction under international law.

According to a Canada-U.S. agreement, Canadian uranium exports may only be used for peaceful purposes. However, according to Dr. Douglas Rokke, a U.S. Army research scientist, and others, Canada provides raw uranium to the U.S. and other countries for processing. The resulting depleted uranium is then used in weapons.

One only has to watch the documentary film Beyond Treason to see the devastating effects of these weapons in countries such as Iraq.

I call upon our government to undertake every measure possible to ensure that depleted uranium weapons of mass destruction are banned forever.

Stanley Cup
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Fabian Manning Avalon, NL

Mr. Speaker, the province of Newfoundland and Labrador can see “Cleary” now. Danny Cleary, that is.

Last night, Danny Cleary, from Riverhead, Harbour Grace in the riding of Avalon, became the first NHL player from our province to hoist the Lord Stanley Cup after his team, the Detroit Red Wings, clinched the coveted prize.

Danny began playing hockey at a young age. In 1993, at age 15, he left home to play in the Ontario Hockey League.

In 1997, Danny first began his NHL career as a member of the Chicago Blackhawks, followed by four seasons with the Edmonton Oilers. Then in 2005, Danny became the most notable addition to the Detroit Red Wings.

Today in Newfoundland and Labrador, Danny Cleary is indeed the talk of our province and all of our citizens are beaming with pride and gloriously celebrating the tremendous and historic accomplishment of this fine young man.

I want to congratulate Danny and all his teammates. We are all so very proud. He can be assured that his family, friends and countless others across our province will all be there to welcome him home when he brings the Stanley Cup home to Harbour Grace.

World Environment Day
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, today is World Environment Day, but for the third year in a row, no one in Canada is celebrating.

For the first time in Canadian history, we have a government that is actually opposed to aggressive action to protect the environment. The whole world knows that the greatest challenge we face is global warming. Our international allies are making great efforts to ensure their greenhouse gas emissions are reduced and the terms of the Kyoto protocol are met.

However, for the last two and half years, the government has done nothing but destroy Canada's efforts to fight global warming. The government cancelled billions of dollars from programs to fight GHGs. The Minister of the Environment has refused to provide strict caps on emissions by the large polluters. When the premiers of Ontario and Quebec created a cap and trade system, the government did nothing but attack the effort.

The time is long past for action. The government should listen to Canadians, stop denying the science of climate change and global warming and work with the members of the House for a solid solution.

Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Daryl Kramp Prince Edward—Hastings, ON

Mr. Speaker, it has now been two days since the Liberal leader has failed once again to acknowledge his campaign expenses being paid back. We are wondering just how long this is going to go on.

Where is his fundraising coming from? The wealthy elites, the people whom no one knows. At some particular point, the opposition leader has an obligation to be honest, forthright and open and tell the Canadian people what is going on, not just sit behind obscure rules that mean something only to the Liberal Party and not to the honest, decent, law-abiding citizens of our country.

Member for Papineau
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Claude DeBellefeuille Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am sure you will agree, it is not every day that one of our colleagues in this House is honoured with an award for their entire career.

On May 31, 2008, in Toronto, the African Canadian Achievement Awards of Excellence commended and celebrated the many achievements of our colleague, the hon. member for Papineau, and her invaluable contribution to her community.

In her roles as teacher, union representative, president of the Fédération des femmes du Québec, and as an advocate for social rights and for Quebec sovereignty, the hon. member, who is originally from Haiti and loves the French language, has demonstrated, through her bold stands and perseverance, that one can contribute to the development of the Quebec nation without forsaking one's origins.

On behalf of all my colleagues, I would like to congratulate and sincerely thank the hon. member for Papineau for being a source of inspiration for all Quebeckers.

Cadman Affair
Statements By Members

June 5th, 2008 / 2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Steven Blaney Lévis—Bellechasse, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal Party's position on the Cadman affair has been contradicted not only by Chuck Cadman himself and the RCMP, but by specialized independent legal analysts, who confirmed yesterday that Tom Zytaruk's audio tape had been doctored.

In light of everything that has happened and how events have unfolded, the Liberal Party owes Canadians an honest explanation of its involvement in this affair. The Liberal leader needs to assure Canadians that the Liberal Party and his office acted properly. There are a number of questions they should answer.

The Liberal Party is using this tape to discredit the Prime Minister, even though he refutes the allegations and maintains that the recording was altered. When did the Liberal Party get the doctored tape? From whom did the party get the tape? Who in the Liberal Party got the tape?

From the start, the Liberal Party accepted the transcript and the Zytaruk tape as gospel. What is the party's involvement with Tom Zytaruk?

National Hunger Awareness Day
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Ruby Dhalla Brampton—Springdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize National Hunger Awareness Day and applaud the efforts of those all across the country who work tirelessly to reduce hunger among children, youth and families.

In a country that is as prosperous as ours, this year's HungerCount report, produced by the Canadian Association of Food Banks, paints a shocking picture of hunger in Canada. Allow me to read some of the most striking statistics.

Over 720,000 people are assisted by a food bank every month in Canada and 39% of those are children. Of the people who use food banks, 13.5% have jobs, yet still cannot afford to feed their families.

On behalf of all my colleagues in the House, I commend the efforts of all of Canada's food banks and their supporters and volunteers. With all Canadians working together, we can significantly reduce the number of Canadians who go to bed hungry on a daily basis.