House of Commons Hansard #80 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was tax.

Topics

Sustaining Canada's Economic Recovery Act
Government Orders

1 p.m.

Peterborough
Ontario

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, I listened with great interest to the member's speech. She spoke with great passion about the need to support our veterans, and our party believes very strongly in that. However, I have a memory that goes back prior to 2006.

I remember a previous Liberal government that slashed veterans programs, that eliminated benefits for allied veterans, that fought veterans every step of the way. I am proud to be part of a government that has extended a veterans independence program to more than 12,000 veterans, more than the Liberals did.

What really cuts me to the bone on this is the Liberals stand in the House and impugn this government and expect that people have absolutely no memory of what they did when they were in power and how they turned their back on Canada's veterans.

I think Canada's veterans do remember the Liberal government record and they also remember its record in rusting out the army, in sinking the navy and grounding the air force. That is the Liberal record.

Sustaining Canada's Economic Recovery Act
Government Orders

1 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, we are addressing their budget. I would like to bring up the issue of atomic war veterans.

In 1957, 44 Canadians were exposed to five nuclear tests in Nevada during Task Force Warrior. Canadian troops were exposed to twice as much radiation the American troops. High-dose radiation exposure can cause cancer. Twenty-seven of forty-four soldiers have passed away. Ninety-seven per cent of the deaths were caused by cancer. Seventeen soldiers are still alive and three of them are cancer survivors. One soldier has just been diagnosed with leukemia.

In the United States, the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act was passed in 1988, and the United States awarded its veterans $75,000. In 2008, the Government of Canada awarded veterans $24,000.

Sustaining Canada's Economic Recovery Act
Government Orders

1 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Norlock Northumberland—Quinte West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I know that every single member in this House cares about our veterans, but what I take great exception to is the politicization of it.

The member needs to know, as my friend from the riding of Peterborough mentioned, that they actually took World War II veterans off the veterans list. What she did not mention was that the defence minister, the chief of defence staff, received an award last year from the Mental Health Commission of Canada, because of the work we have done on post-traumatic stress disorder. What she left out was the fact that the previous Liberal government cancelled a helicopter contract, costing the Canadian taxpayers over half a billion dollars, and we got nothing for that. Now we have to go out and buy those aircraft at almost double the cost.

She refers to agent orange, which her government never did anything about. At least we did something about it, so I implore every member of this House, specifically that member, to stop politicizing our veterans and work with us to make their cause better.

Sustaining Canada's Economic Recovery Act
Government Orders

1 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, I will not be dragged into politicizing the issue of people. Instead I will address a real issue.

The Canadian Forces have made enormous advances in recent years in addressing mental health issues. But despite their best efforts, military culture retains a stigma against admitting psychological problems, and this interferes with getting an early PTSD diagnosis. Since symptoms may not appear until long after the initial trauma, it can be difficult to establish that they are service-related.

Many of our veterans are suffering with PTSD. Some are anxious, confused, and depressed, and we need new programs. To be fair and effective, the method of identifying and aiding veterans who deserve benefits needs to become more flexible.

Sustaining Canada's Economic Recovery Act
Government Orders

1:05 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am glad to have this opportunity to join in the debate on Bill C-47, the budget implementation act.

As the government operations vice-chair, much of my 13 years as an MP has been spent in an environment where budgetary restraint were the operative words. They were key. In fact, it was a period of cutting, hacking, and slashing in a way that we often criticized as going too far.

In the Liberal years, when they tried to balance a budget, they did so in such a way that they were not just trimming the fat from government programs but had gone through the fat and were into the bone. Some of those cuts have never healed. In fact, some of the Liberals' cutting, hacking, and slashing bordered on cruelty in that they seemed to take no notice of the human consequences associated with their deep, reckless, and irresponsible cuts.

That was the environment in which I spent most of my political career, trying to direct spending to social spending and to bring an element of reason and compassion into the slashing that was going on. I contrast that now with the position I find myself in as the vice-chair of the government operations committee, the oversight committee for estimates.

When I contrast the experience of yesterday with that of today, I see billions of dollars flying out the door at breakneck speed, with virtually no oversight, model, projection, or yardstick to measure progress by. This is irresponsible and cavalier, almost reckless.

Granted, this spending was called for by other OECD nations. We all knew we had to get some money into circulation. But surely with some prudence and probity, we could have designed a way to get money into circulation with some yardstick to measure progress by, with goals and objectives that could be stated, observed, measured, and then evaluated.

We in the committee asked for that type of participation. But we were given none of it. In fact, it has been incredibly frustrating. For instance, we asked for the projected job creation associated with this spending initiative, and we got nothing to go by. This is my frustration as a member of Parliament. I am finally given the opportunity at this late date to speak to the budget implementation bill. Yet I recall that, at every step along the way, I tried to speak to the issues associated with this massive windfall of spending. And every step of the way, I was stymied.

Instead of the government coming to Parliament and allowing members to test the metal of its policies through vigorous debate and informed participation, it has put a shroud of secrecy over what it is doing, as if policy can be discussed only behind closed doors and drawn curtains. It seems we have no right, according to the government, to know what the stimulus spending is doing, where it is going, and how it is being allocated.

Whether the Auditor General will ever be able to do a thorough analysis of these billions of dollars of stimulus spending remains to be seen. In any case, if such an analysis were to occur, by that time things would likely have gone too far. We will be into another political cycle and presumably another election will have taken place.

It would be disingenuous to allow the Canadian people to think that we have weathered this economic recession relatively well owing to the strong financial stewardship of the government, but that is the illusion the government is trying to create. In every speech Conservatives make in public on the international scene, they say Canada has weathered the recession a lot better because they did what was right. Let us remind ourselves that, if we had actually run with the Conservative budget in late 2008, a catastrophe would have ensued.

The budget we are seeing today is in fact a coalition budget, a budget that we forced the Minister of Finance to entertain. In November 2008, remember, he was in full denial that an economic crisis existed.

The government considered that it was just business as usual. It did not worry about the economy, suggesting that the crisis would pass. We said no. The rest of the world said no. All of the members on this side of the House said no. We told the government that we would not let it drive the bus over the cliff, so we stopped it, and it is a good thing we did. We scared the government straight, as it were, because it had to regroup, pull back, and withdraw. It came out with a stimulus package that has helped us overcome the economic challenges of the last few months.

The Conservatives did not listen to advice, though. With what has been called the biggest economic crisis since the great depression, one would have thought there would have been some effort to reach across the aisle and co-operate. When the country is at war, a war cabinet is pulled together. When the country is in crisis, one would like to think that the government would approach opposition parties and say, “Look, in light of this crisis, we need an unprecedented level of co-operation, because we have to be paddling our canoe in the same direction to get out of these dangerous rapids”.

None of that happened. In fact, the Conservatives ignored all the advice proffered. Surely, they cannot think that they have a monopoly on common sense and reason, financial responsibility and experience. There are talented people on this side of the House, too. We put forward good ideas to the Conservative Party, but those members ignored virtually every one of them. I will talk about only one or two.

I fully supported getting money into circulation as quickly as possible to stimulate the economy in a Keynesian way. But we suggested ways to achieve secondary objectives at the same time. Yes, get the money into circulation. Yes, public spending is the way to do it. Yes, get it into people's hands. But we could have done transformative things with our economy, if we had set out mind to it.

I heard a speech recently by Van Jones, who was an adviser to President Obama in the United States. Two important U.S. objectives in its stimulus spending were, first, to wean society off the carbon-based economy that was dragging the country down, and second, to bring in the new green economy of the future. A stated objective in the U.S. stimulus spending was to do things that were environmentally smart to wean the American people off imported energy from questionable sources. That was smart. That was making lemonade out of lemons.

There will never be a flurry of public spending like this again in our lifetime. It is rare. As I said, my entire political experience of 13 years has been in an era of budgetary restraint, cutbacks, spending less, and getting government out of things.

When we got into a crisis, we decided as a people that government needed to get into this. But I do not think we are going to see it again. It is a wasted opportunity. We could have used this economic downturn and this blitzkrieg of public spending to transform ourselves from a carbon-based economy into a more sustainable one.

A nationwide, comprehensive energy retrofit program would have put money into circulation immediately. The country would have been put back to work and people would have renovated their homes.

The government offered a paltry home renovation program, but it did not have an adequate energy component. One could get the home renovation stimulus money of $1,300, not a great deal of money, to build a sundeck, for instance. That grant should have been available only to homeowners who wanted to energy retrofit their homes, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. I understand that, if a homeowner wanted use the program to put in windows, this would be an improvement in energy efficiency. But there was nothing mandated about that. That was a mistake.

The government could have done something else in home retrofitting. It could have set up a comprehensive asbestos removal program, so that people could rid their homes of harmful asbestos, especially Zonolite insulation.

I cite that specifically because the federal government subsidized and promoted the installation of Zonolite asbestos insulation in 350,000 homes across the country and a countless number of public buildings through CHIP, its Canadian home insulation program. People's homes were devalued and made unsafe by virtue of a government program.

When UFFI, urea-formaldehyde foam insulation, was put in and a few people started getting irritation from it, I think it was André Ouellet at the time who started a massive, nationwide removal program to take all that foam insulation out of the houses, which the government had just paid to put in.

While UFFI is irritating to some people, asbestos is deadly to everyone. Yet there is no corresponding removal program. This would have been a perfect opportunity to implement a nationwide asbestos removal program to help homeowners whose homes have been devalued and made unsafe by the government's own home insulation program from 1977 to 1984.

We believe another way we could have stimulated the economy and get money into circulation immediately, plus achieve important secondary objectives at the same time, would have been to increase the old age security payments to Canadian pensioners. Instead of a $1.50 per month increase, anti-poverty groups tell us that an increase of $100 per month would have elevated hundreds of thousands of Canadian seniors out of poverty to the poverty line. This would not make them wealthy by any means, but it would at least elevate them to the base minimum level of poverty that we identify with the low-income cut-off.

Our party costed this out, and for the 300,000 individuals involved, it would be a total cost of $700 million. It is a lot of money, and I am not trying to downplay that, but one could guarantee that the money would be in circulation immediately. A dollar in a poor person's hand is spent that day, in their home community, and it would be in circulation. We all know that every dollar spent gets re-spent four times before it finds its natural state of repose, usually in some rich man's pocket. However, that would have been one way to guarantee money in circulation immediately and solve a serious social objective of senior citizens living in poverty, for a relatively low price tag.

These ideas were put to the Minister of Finance during the brief, paltry, and now we find useless, consultation process. We made these arguments. Frankly, it would have been very smart politically and I think the government would have looked pretty good in the minds of the general public if the senior citizens living in poverty were brought up to at least the poverty line, for one-fortieth of the stimulus spending that went on.

Those are some of the ideas that I find myself frustrated with as an opposition MP and as a member of the government operations committee, now that we are finally asked to discuss the budget implementation bill.

I would also like to discuss in the context of Bill C-47 the enormous crippling deficit that we now must address collectively. I doubt there will be a great deal of consultation associated with that either. Perhaps there will be an election following the next budget and there will not be anymore Conservative budgets after that. However, we strongly suspect that the next budget will be a bad-news budget.

We can anticipate the Conservative government trying to balance the books, and I am afraid that it will try to balance the books along ideological lines. The Conservatives will be trying to achieve secondary objectives and goals as sort of a neo-conservative wish list of things they would like to do.

During the time that I have been an MP, deficits were about as popular as a hooker with a chipped tooth. Now we are faced with a serious issue of deficits.

One of the things we predict through the Conservatives' law and order agenda, the legislation they are putting through, is a very predictable increase in prison construction, an unavoidable increase in prison construction because virtually every one of the bills they are pushing through has mandatory minimum sentencing, which will result in more people in prison.

We have just had the Parliamentary Budget Officer to our government operations committee giving us a projection of what this will cost, and it will cost billions and billions of dollars. Mark my words, the Conservatives will look at privatization of prisons, and there will be some company like Onex or Halliburton that will come into Canada and say that it costs Canada $147,000 to house a prisoner in a federal penitentiary and they can do it for $125,000, and these guys will jump on it like a dog on a pork chop. They will just leap for that.

There is a point in law, and my colleague from St. John's East and I were talking about it. It says a person can be assumed to have intended the predictable consequences of his or her actions. They can be presumed to have intended the predictable consequences of his or her action. The predictable consequences will be stacking up prisoners like cordwood in our penitentiaries. The Conservatives will end up locking up a whole generation of young aboriginal kids, because from now on, if some kid steals a loaf of bread, he or she will wind up in prison, according to the agenda of the Conservatives.

Sustaining Canada's Economic Recovery Act
Government Orders

1:20 p.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway Elmwood—Transcona, MB

What about all those white collar criminals?

Sustaining Canada's Economic Recovery Act
Government Orders

1:20 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin Winnipeg Centre, MB

No, no, rich people do not go to jail because the jail is too full of young aboriginal kids. There is no room for them. They can go to the country club and play golf.

Now we have a member of the board of directors of Onex Corporation as the Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister. We can just imagine the kind of bugs that are being dropped into the ear of the Prime Minister behind closed doors and under the shroud of secrecy that the Conservatives like to create. They can help us solve our deficit problem. They can privatize the prisons, privatize this and contract out that and get government out of all of these areas, which has been, as I said, the dream objective of the neo-conservatives since their beginning.

We have another contradiction or irony here that I do not think the public will be very pleased about. It will come up on the doorsteps in the next federal election, but in the context of Bill C-47, the budget implementation bill, it contemplates corporate tax cuts to the extent of $6 billion or $7 billion.

The astounding thing is the reasoning that goes into this. It is not as though we are in a surplus situation where we will be sharing some of the bounty through private sector tax cuts, personal tax cuts and corporate tax cuts. We are not in that environment. We are in a $50 billion deficit situation. To give this $6 billion or $7 billion more in tax cuts, we have to borrow that money. We will be borrowing money on the open market to give tax cuts to profitable corporations.

The irony about giving tax cuts in this way is that it rewards the most successful businesses. It does not give a hand up to a struggling business that is about to close its doors. They are not paying any income tax anyway because they are struggling. So this is not some kind of initiative to assist small and medium-sized enterprises. I could support that to ensure that we avoid plant closures, et cetera.

This will reward those most profitable businesses in the country, the very people, maybe the only people in the country, who do not need our help right now. It is the struggling small and medium-sized businesses that actually, legitimately need assistance to get them through these turbulent economic times, but by some convoluted pretzel logic, the Conservatives have decided to hand over this massive transfer of wealth to corporations instead of an option that I suggested, raising the old age security by $100 a month and bringing seniors out of poverty.

I wish I had more time to go into the tax-motivated expatriation, which is actually sleazy, tax-cheating loopholes that exist within our tax system, but the Conservatives have decided to leave that money on the table and not go after it, even though we are in a $50 billion deficit situation.

Sustaining Canada's Economic Recovery Act
Government Orders

1:20 p.m.

Peterborough
Ontario

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to address a question to the hon. member across the way. I have indicated that when the member leaves this place I would like to put an offer in on his thesaurus. I think he is amongst the better deliverers of lines in the House. I would not mind getting a copy of that when he has done. Perhaps he might even write it in a memoir for me.

I did want to mention a couple of points on his speech. I know he has companions in the Liberal Party who in last election indicated that they were going to cut corporate taxes farther and faster than I would cut them. Now they have skipped across, and they have apparently taken the 2008 NDP campaign platform and are running with that.

I am sure the member is actually happy about that in some regards, but at the same time I am sure he sees that it is not likely a truthful position from the Liberal Party since they have supported our reductions in corporate taxes. Good for them to this point, although most people believe that they actually supported it to save their skin.

I would say to the hon. member that this bill contains some key measures, including on the working income tax benefit. There are some key measures to help the working poor to climb and claw their way up, assisting them to get to middle class.

Has the member considered those measures in Bill C-47 and if he supports them?

Sustaining Canada's Economic Recovery Act
Government Orders

1:25 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, there is an old saying that even a broken watch is right twice a day. There are measures in this bill that we support. There are some gestures toward that.

Overall, it is the tone and the big picture of this massive undertaking that we are critical of. We feel it is a missed opportunity. Well, it ranges from a missed opportunity in one regard, in that I believe we could have done something truly transformative with that massive outpouring of billions of dollars of stimulus spending instead of just the old bricks-and-mortar projects, which I am not criticizing.

It ranges from that missed opportunity to the sheer perversity of borrowing $6 billion or $7 billion to give corporate tax cuts at this point in time. I appreciate my colleague's pointing out the flip-flop perversity position of the Liberals, too, who do sound an awful lot like New Democrats when they are in opposition, and as soon as they get into government they sound an awful lot like right wing neo-conservatives.

In fact, with respect to the cutting and hacking and slashing that took place under their watch, in my riding at least, we still have not recovered from the consequences of the virtually cruel actions of that party.

Let me give one example. The cuts to the EI program in my riding alone resulted in $20 million a year less federal money coming into my riding. We cannot bounce back from that very readily. We could not afford a Liberal government much longer, in my view.

Sustaining Canada's Economic Recovery Act
Government Orders

1:25 p.m.

Bloc

Luc Desnoyers Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, my colleague raised many points, and I would like to take up a couple of them. He mentioned that important employment insurance pilot projects have been cut. I would like to hear a bit more on this topic because we know perfectly well that the economy is not in full recovery mode. I am thinking in particular about my riding, where there have been significant cuts to the aerospace and trucking industries. The entire industrial sector has yet to fully recover, but we are hearing from the other side of the House that they are creating jobs. People need employment insurance programs, but the government is not doing anything.

With respect to seniors, as my colleague mentioned, they have been given nothing. They are living at the poverty line right now and they are being kept there. The government does not want to improve their lot in Canada and Quebec despite the fact that they have contributed enormously to the development of Canada and Quebec's economy, monetarily as well as in terms of time and values. It is important that we remember them.

Why is this government still forgetting seniors?

The final point that I would like to raise is that they are telling us they have created jobs. But, in terms of the F-35 fighter jet contracts, the government has not received any guarantee that jobs will be created.

What does my colleague think of this?

Sustaining Canada's Economic Recovery Act
Government Orders

1:30 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the member's contribution to the case that we are making, which is that this particular initiative falls short of meeting the goals and objectives that we could have achieved with this massive spending.

The one thing I will comment on is the EI system. We squandered the fiscal capacity to have a healthy and robust EI system when they took the $57 billion surplus from the EI system. By legislation, they ripped that money right out of there. Now that we are in an economic crisis where we need EI, the cupboard is bare.

Again, they had no right to take that money. That money was employer and employee contributions. Not one penny of that was federal government money and yet they took it and misused it for other applications.

Sustaining Canada's Economic Recovery Act
Government Orders

1:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Barry Devolin

It being 1:30 p.m., the House will now proceed to the consideration of private members' business as listed on today's order paper.

The House resumed from September 21 consideration of the motion that Bill S-215, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (suicide bombings), be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Criminal Code
Private Members' Business

1:30 p.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to speak today to Bill S-215. The subject of the bill in various iterations has been with us now for the last five years, which is hard to believe. In 25 years of having been in elected positions provincially and federally, I have never run into a situation where there is all party agreement and unanimous support for a bill and yet after five years we are still debating it.

Only a few months ago, in June, when the issue of pardons came up dealing specifically with Karla Homolka, it took Parliament a day or two days to pass a bill at all stages. It is somewhat of a mystery that a bill that would be agreed to by every member and all parties in the House would still be at the stage it is after five years.

The member for Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar has had more than one occasion to introduce this legislation. I read with interest her comments regarding the bill. She pointed out that the bill's title is an act to amend the Criminal Code, which is identical to Bill S-205 that was passed in the Senate on June 10, 2009. It was debated at second reading in the House in November 2009 and was then referred to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights on November 29 and died on the order paper in December when her own leader, the Prime Minister of the country, prorogued the House for the second time since 2008. That adds to the saga of this particular bill.

Senator Grafstein was one of the initial drivers behind this bill and a strong supporter. He has retired now but I believe he will be very pleased when this bill makes it through. I honestly believe this will be the last time we will be debating this bill and that it will actually make its way through the final procedures to become law, and none too soon, I might add.

The bill seeks to explicitly include the act of suicide bombing within the context of the Criminal Code definition of “terrorist activity”. Suicide bombings have resulted in terrible consequences to thousands of people over the years and shows the utmost contempt for human life. Suicide attacks are committed with the intention to kill and maim innocent people and inflict excessive property damage, with the attackers prepared to die in the process.

We have seen over the last number of years some very substantial damage caused by suicide attacks, such as the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City in which 3,000 people lost their lives. Most of the suicide attacks over the years have dealt with smaller numbers of people dying. Nevertheless, each death is a very important discussion point because it causes untold misery for the families of the victims, as well as the families of the suicide bombers.

We should not kid ourselves. The people who are involved in these suicide bombings are, in many cases, poor people whose families are being paid and the people carrying out the bombings are, oftentimes, not willing participants but are doing it because it is a way of getting their families out of poverty.

Suicide attacks are becoming more common and statistics show that there are more happening now, not less. I will get into some of the history in a few minutes, but the fact is that this type of activity has been going on for literally hundreds of years.

In July 2005 there were the London bombings. In 2008 there were attacks in Mumbai, India. There have been bombings recently in Moscow and Afghanistan. Essentially populations that have absolutely nothing to do with the problem are being terrorized. How could a young child in a market in any way be blamed for issues that are going on in the world?

The definition of “terrorist activity” is currently in paragraph 83.01(b) of the Criminal Code. Bill S-215 seeks to amend section 83.01 of the code by adding the following after subsection (1.1):

(1.2) For greater certainty, a suicide bombing is an act that comes within paragraph (a) or (b) of the definition "terrorist activity" in subsection (1) if it satisfies the criteria of that paragraph.

The first part of the definition of “terrorist activity” incorporates in part criminal conduct as envisioned by the International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings, one of the United Nations counter-terrorism conventions. Many speakers have pointed out that this particular legislation is supported by several former prime ministers of Canada and some well-known people in this country.

Distinguished Canadian criminal lawyers have told the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs that explicitly covering suicide bombing in the Criminal Code could help to prosecute and punish the organizers, teachers and sponsors of suicide bombing. There were some observations and comments made in the past that this type of activity is already covered under the Criminal Code. It is a very important distinction to know that what we are trying to do here is to prosecute and punish the organizers, teachers and sponsors of suicide bombing. They are not the people who go out and blow themselves up and kill other people indiscriminately in the process. They are not the people who go out and do it. They are the ones who organize it. They are the ones who finance it. They are the ones who teach and brainwash the people who actually do it. They are the ones we want to prosecute, lock up and get off the street and away from doing what they are doing.

This legislation would be the first in the world. In many respects it would be a beacon to other countries to follow suit. We are dealing with an issue that has not been a big problem in Canada, but it certainly could be. It could develop that way over time. By doing this we are showing leadership as a Parliament to indicate to other countries what is possible, what should be done, where they should be moving.

By including suicide bombing in the definition it would also serve to denounce this horrendous practice. It would also educate the public and draw attention to the issue that suicide bombings are repugnant to Canadian values. In addition to passing the bill, we would be showing some international leadership by being the first nation in the world to adopt this reference in the legislative definition of “terrorist activity”. In that I see no downside.

I am very surprised that before I even get to the history of suicide bombings, my time for debate has almost run out. I am sure members would be very interested in knowing that as far back as the 17th century injured Dutch soldiers were fighting for control of Taiwan and in 1661, they used gunpowder to blow up themselves and their opponents rather than be taken prisoner. During the Belgian revolution a Dutch lieutenant detonated his own ship in the harbour at Antwerp to prevent being captured by the Belgians. A Prussian soldier died blowing up a hole in a Danish fortification in 1864. We see that this activity has a long, long history going back many years and did not start just in the last couple of years.

Retraction of Statements
Points of Order
Private Members' Business

October 8th, 2010 / 1:40 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Ajax—Pickering, ON

Mr. Speaker, in an interview broadcast on CTV Newsnet on March 5, 2008, I made certain statements regarding Chris Froggatt, then chief of staff to Canada's environment minister, and communications between Mr. Froggatt and the Ontario Provincial Police.

I have since determined that my concerns regarding Mr. Froggatt were unwarranted. I apologize to Mr. Froggatt and retract the statements that may have caused him and his family grief.