House of Commons Hansard #67 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was health.

Topics

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, whenever there is a threat of a company doing mass layoffs, Service Canada immediately moves in to work with the company, with the employees and union, if there is one, to try to reach a situation that will help all of them to get through these times. It may be work-sharing. It may be advising them of potential benefits, including the option for them to continue with long-term work studies so they could upgrade their skills.

We are doing everything we can to help particularly those workers who have been in the workforce a long time and who need new skills for the new jobs to look after their families.

Foreign Investment
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

Bob Dechert Mississauga—Erindale, ON

Mr. Speaker, the CIDA-INC program was intended to encourage private sector engagement in developing countries to promote economic growth and poverty reduction. However, a recent review of the program found it was outdated and ineffective.

Considering today is Trade Day, could the Minister of International Trade tell the House what the Conservative government is doing to ensure Canadian tax dollars are spent responsibly?

Foreign Investment
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla
B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway

Mr. Speaker, this is a very well-intended program and it is designed to allow private sector companies or individuals in Canada to invest in countries that are emerging in terms of their developing economies. However, it was found, upon review, that it would be more effective to have this under the international trade area, where there are some 150 trade offices around the world with over 950 representatives who can work with private sector companies in Canada to guide them and also to give resources to allow them to invest in emerging countries to help poverty issues in those countries and also benefit Canadians at the same time.

Minister of Natural Resources
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, could the Minister of Natural Resources be just a bit more forthcoming?

First, do the secret documents, which she lost at CTV, reveal commercially confidential information about dealings between the Darlington nuclear plant and the Ontario government? Second, when did she first know the documents were missing? Third, where they merely a staffer's documents or were they her own documents, personally as minister?

Minister of Natural Resources
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Halton
Ontario

Conservative

Lisa Raitt Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, as we have indicated, this is a serious matter and clear procedures were not followed in the handling of these documents. Corrective action has been taken. I offered my resignation to the Prime Minister, but he did not accept it. However, the individual who is responsible for the documents that day has tendered a resignation and I have accepted it.

Sri Lanka
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Bloc

Jean Dorion Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Tamil diaspora in Quebec and Canada is worried and with just cause. The UN must be allowed to conduct a real investigation into human rights violations committed by both sides in the Sri Lankan conflict.

Does the Minister of Foreign Affairs intend to increase pressure on the Sri Lankan government to allow the UN to do its job and conduct a credible investigation?

Sri Lanka
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Pontiac
Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, our honourable colleague has identified two issues. The first is to ensure that an independent tribunal is set up by the Sri Lankan government in order to shed light on this matter.

The other is to allow the United Nations to provide aid to those displaced by this conflict.

Canada, my colleague the Minister of International Cooperation and I are working very hard on this.

The Environment
Oral Questions

June 3rd, 2009 / 3 p.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan Edmonton—Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, the minister has tabled his empty 2009 climate change plan. Incredibly it is a plan to do nothing, no binding reduction targets and delayed action on coal-fired. He will repeat the last 15 years of consultations, more delay, more hot air.

On National Clean Air Day, where is the long promised action on clean electricity?

Last year the Canadian Medical Association reported air pollution hospitalized an estimated 92,000 Canadians with 21,000 deaths. In whose interest is the minister delaying action on clean air and climate change?

The Environment
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North
Alberta

Conservative

Jim Prentice Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is correct. This is Clean Air Day and we are moving forward with the regulations that I previously described with respect to climate change. In addition, the air quality health index is being expanded in a way that it has never previously been expanded by any other government.

With respect to the pollution agenda, we have re-engaged with the provinces and with other stakeholders to put in place a regulatory approach that will deal with air pollutants, which will be parallel to and integrated with our approach to clean air as it relates to climate change.

Infrastructure
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

Steven Blaney Lévis—Bellechasse, QC

Mr. Speaker, contrary to the opposition's inaction, and thanks to our Prime Minister's leadership, our government is taking steps to create jobs, stimulate the economy, and support Canadian families and workers.

Can the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities tell me what the infrastructure stimulus fund will do for Quebec?

Infrastructure
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the question.

We are continuing to work with the Province of Quebec to finalize agreements that will get projects off the ground.

In Quebec City yesterday, our colleague, the Minister of Public Works and Government Services, announced an agreement with Quebec to invest over $2.75 billion in the province over the next two years. That money will create jobs now, tomorrow, and in the future.

Our government is taking action and getting real results, not just for Quebeckers, but for all Canadians.

Presence in Gallery
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

To commemorate the 65th anniversary of D-Day, I wish to draw to the attention of hon. members the presence in the gallery of Mr. Stanley Fields, a veteran who landed on Juno Beach on D-Day and served Canada until the end of World War II.

Members will be interested to know that prior to joining the armed forces, Mr. Fields served as a page in the House of Commons when Mackenzie King was prime minister.

Presence in Gallery
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear!

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

It being 3:07 p.m., pursuant to order made on Tuesday, June 2 the House will now proceed to statements by ministers.

D-Day
Routine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Central Nova
Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay Minister of National Defence and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway

Mr. Speaker, dear colleagues, Mr. Fields, on Saturday, June 6 Canadians from across our great country will gather to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the D-Day invasion of Normandy. Later today veterans and their families and grateful others will begin their pilgrimage to France to visit the graves of our fallen heroes and honour their sacrifice.

It is appropriate for the Canadian House of Commons to mark this historic occasion. In so doing, we again pledge ourselves and the country to honour the promise made in the act of remembrance. We will remember them.

Let us each in our own way learn of the great deeds and the sacrifices made by Canadians and Allied men and women, so-called average Canadians, performing extraordinary acts of courage and commitment.

There are few who would dispute that the events of June 6, 1944, were to be one of the most significant events of the 20th century. In marking its anniversary, we must not forget other military actions which equally cost Canadians and Allies dearly.

For personal reasons, I think particularly of the Italian campaign, which resulted in the liberation of Rome, 65 years ago tomorrow, June 4.

On June 5, the following message was transmitted on BBC radio.

The long sobs
Of the violins
Of autumn
Wound my heart
With a monotonous
Languor.

Those cryptic words borrowed from the French literary giant Verlaine signalled by Churchill to the French underground and the allied forces that the D-Day invasion was about to begin.

The 6th of June is one of those pivotal dates, landmark dates, etched in the minds and memories of veterans and those who served and their families. It is also etched in stone on hundreds of cenotaphs across our country and on bleached dignified tombstones throughout Europe, for most of Europe had languished under the iron fist and the racist rule of Hitler. D-Day and the campaign that followed in Normandy would at a long last signal the beginning of the end of the enemy who was making its last desperate stand in the European theatre of war.

Sixty-five years ago—perhaps Mr. Fields was here—the prime minister made a statement to the members of this House in which he said the following:

At half-past three o'clock this morning the government received official word that the invasion of western Europe had begun. Word was also received that Canadian troops were among the allied forces who landed this morning on the northern coast of France. Canada will be proud to learn that our troops are being supported by units of the Royal Canadian Navy and the Royal Canadian Air Force. The great landing in western Europe is the opening up of what we hope and believe will be the decisive phase of the war against Germany. The fighting is certain to be heavy, bitter and costly.

Indeed, the toll was costly. The headstones of Beny-Sur-Mer and other Canadian cemeteries, the monuments to those who died at sea, the Books of Remembrance housed here in the House of Commons, in the Memorial Chamber of this building, are stark testimony to the heroism and sacrifices of our armies, airmen and women and navy. A great history was written that day.

Humanity entered into a great debt when a previous generation embarked on the D-Day mission. That debt is our duty to never forget the deeds of those who gave their all on Juno Beach.

In the days that followed June 6, the fighting continued to be bitter and costly. Units across the country were involved. From my home province, the North Nova Scotia Highlanders worked with Quebec's storied Sherbrooke Fusiliers and suffered severe losses over two days combatting the elite 12th SS Panzer Division.

Far too many young Canadians died that day on Juno Beach. In the 10 bloody weeks that followed, soldiers from the First Canadian Army—with vital support from the Royal Canadian Air Force and the Royal Canadian Navy—battled a powerful enemy and suffered and inflicted heavy losses. Nearly one-third of the soldiers involved in the fighting never saw their beloved Canada again. On August 3, when the Normandy campaign ended, the enemy had suffered a crushing defeat, mainly thanks to the efforts of Canada's land, sea and air forces.

Those who survived the war returned home, raised families, got on with their lives and built a new Canada. Without effort, what they did on Juno Beach might fade with the passage of time. New generations may not know what happened on June 6, 1944. It is our responsibility to tell their story, our story, our history, our legacy.

I compliment our veterans who have been so generous in sharing their individual histories. It is difficult for some, impossible for others, and that is understandable. Yet their story, our story, must be told, and it is through the marking of these anniversaries that the next generation learns of its heritage.

I praise our heritage minister for the attention that he is giving to this important task.

Our Prime Minister will be in France to mark this anniversary. The Minister of Veterans Affairs is leaving today for France and will lead a delegation of Canadian veterans returning to Normandy. He will travel with them to the places where they fought and to other locations as well. They will gather in war cemeteries and in front of Canadian cenotaphs. They will pay tribute to those who gave their young lives for our freedom. I know that all Canadians will think of them that day.

Two young ambassadors will accompany the veterans and listen as they tell their stories. When they return, they will be able to talk about what they saw and heard. They will share the veterans' stories with others and keep the torch of remembrance burning for future generations.

As we pause to commemorate those Canadians of the Normandy campaign, I also want to bring attention to another deserving group: the men and women of today's Canadian Forces. The first Sunday in June has been declared Canadian Forces Day.

I would like to take a moment to recognize the sacrifice and accomplishments made here at home and around the world by our current men and women in uniform. They carry on the proud tradition of answering the call of their country to serve, to stand for our values and to defend freedom and democracy and human rights whenever that call comes.

I consider it a distinct honour to rise in this place, to be with members of Parliament in this storied chamber to pay respect to veterans. As the Minister of Veterans Affairs said yesterday in the other place in an eloquent and stirring address to senators as well as a large assembly of veterans who were there:

--of all Canadians, no one owes our Veterans more than Parliamentarians do. It is only because [our veterans] have served our country that we as Members of Parliament and Senators can serve--freely, in a truly democratic country.... And, when our world leaders gather in France later this week, they will recognize that. It has been said that great countries are those that produce great people. And no nation has produced finer men and women than Canada. Our troops have always been the best in the world.

Going overseas has been a way of helping us understand the great debt that we owe our country's truest heroes. That is why it is so important that we do go back to the shores of Normandy, as a Canadian delegation will this week, to see how other nations still remember what it was like to have their countries occupied by a foreign army. They pass down the memories from generation to generation as powerful reminders so that the peace and freedom within their borders will never be taken for granted.

I would like to share a story with colleagues of the House. The Minister of Veterans Affairs and I were in Afghanistan just 10 days ago and we met with the Dutch commander of Regional Command South in Kandahar province, General de Kruif. Upon meeting him and hearing that we were Canadian, he insisted on telling us a story. He explained that whenever he returned to Holland, to his family, after serving in Afghanistan, he would meet people who would ask him, “Why are Dutch soldiers serving in Afghanistan today?” He said, “I would always respond the same way, with a question: Why was Canada in Holland during the second world war?”

All these years later, the Dutch, the French, the Belgians, many throughout Europe and around the world whose nations were once occupied, have not forgotten. They know instinctively that when the world calls, Canada answers, as we have today, because this is the Canadian way. It is the way it has always been and always will be.

This is the heritage, the national identity we have inherited from the D-Day and Battle of Normandy veterans for a way of life they stood up to protect, but their service came at a terrible price, a price paid with many young lives cut short and so many comrades buried on distant lands.

Finally, I would like to close by saying it is impossible for any of us to say thank you enough to those who fought on June 6. What we can do is remember, and we do.