Debates of Nov. 3rd, 2010
House of Commons Hansard #93 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was veterans.
- Question Period
- Municipal Elections
- Human Rights
- Saguenay Fjord
- Teachers Institute on Canadian Parliamentary Democracy
- The Learning Partnership
- Canadian Forces
- Canada-Ukraine Parliamentary Program
- Jean-Charles Bonenfant Foundation
- National 4-H Month
- National Seniors Safety Week
- Woman Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month
- Protection of Children
- Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Francophones
- Media Literacy Week
- Potash Industry
- The Environment
- National Defence
- Securities Industry
- Harmonized Sales Tax
- Potash Industry
- Government Spending
- Government Priorities
- International Trade
- Office of the Prime Minister
- Citizenship and Immigration
- Harmonized Sales Tax
- Quebec City Arena
- Government Spending
- Mining Industry
- Steel Industry
- Presence in Gallery
- Points of Order
- Government Performance Reports
- Government Response to Petitions
- Committees of the House
- Parliament of Canada Act
- Questions on the Order Paper
- Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
- Motions for Papers
- Sustaining Canada's Economic Recovery Act
- Copyright Modernization Act
- Northwest Territories Act
Government Response to Petitions
Tom Lukiwski Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons
Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8) I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to 10 petitions.
November 3rd, 2010 / 3:10 p.m.
Jean-Pierre Blackburn Minister of Veterans Affairs and Minister of State (Agriculture)
Mr. Speaker, in many ways, Canadians owe their immense freedom to the courageous men and women who have always been ready to defend our values and our way of life.
As Canadians, it is our solemn duty never to forget the sacrifices and achievements of our veterans.
As we get ready to celebrate Veterans' Week in Canada, which will be held from November 5 to 11, it is important to commemorate and honour with respect and recognition the generations of soldiers who have sacrificed so much for us.
This past year, Canada's last first world war veteran, Mr. John Babcock, passed away. With this milestone in our collective history, we are reminded of the importance of keeping the memories of our veterans alive. We must always cherish the bravery and achievements of those who left their mark during events like the South African war, the first and second world wars and the Korean War. We must always recognize the sacrifices and successes of peacekeeping missions and military operations, such as in the Suez, in Bosnia and today in Afghanistan.
Canadian veterans are our nation's heroes. We will be in their debt forever.
As we take time to reflect on our veterans' achievements and sacrifices, we must also consider the horrors of war that these men and women have witnessed and been thrown into. Some of them returned home physically and psychologically wounded. Our government is here to support them when they need our help to overcome the terrible effects of war.
We owe these courageous men and women tremendous gratitude. I urge everyone to think about the basic human values of freedom, democracy and tolerance that we enjoy every day.
Now, I would ask everyone to stop for a moment and look at our veterans. We live in the Canada we know today thanks to these people who defended our values and our freedom.
Some faced great danger to vanquish the demons of tyranny and terrorism. Others helped keep entire populations safe under United Nations command. But all veterans served with sincere devotion and admirable courage, as do the current members of Canada's armed forces.
During World War I, a young nation sent 650,000 decent citizens to take up arms on its behalf. Just two decades later, during World War II, Canadians were once again called upon to fight tyranny. Then several years later, Canadians answered the call in Korea. For the past half-century, members of the Canadian Forces have carried on the tradition of participating in peacekeeping efforts around the world.
Today, our military members are returning from Afghanistan and other conflict zones. Some of them have overcome more trials in a few periods of active duty than most of us will in our lifetimes.
This week, in memory of those who have lost their lives and to those who have been physically and psychologically injured, as well as their family members and loved ones, we wish to say that, as the beneficiaries of their courage and determination, we will continue to honour the sacrifices they have made. We will never forget them.
We will remember their sacrifices, honour their achievements and respect the role they have played and continue to play in the story of our nation.
As we celebrate Veterans' Week, Canadians will make remembrance more than something they feel; they will make it something they do. Canadians young and old will pay tribute to veterans by attending Remembrance Day ceremonies. They will gather at the foot of a cenotaph or memorial and will proudly wear their poppies.
Let us again ask ourselves this question: how can we ever repay that debt? By remembering, yes, but also by serving our veterans as loyally as they served our country.
As a government, we are committed to improving their quality of life, and we are proving that by providing care and support to veterans and their families, when and where they need it.
Our government proudly supports Canadian veterans throughout their military careers and at every stage of their life. We recognize that the needs of these brave women and men have changed over time, especially in recent years. That is why the programs and services offered have also changed.
Our government recently announced it would make $2 billion in improvements to the new veterans charter to provide better support and care to our most seriously injured soldiers and to ensure that wounded or ill veterans receive an adequate monthly income.
We recently broadened our criteria to improve support for veterans suffering from ALS. Our government also established a legacy of care to improve the quality of life of injured Canadian Forces personnel and their families. These improvements offer very tangible progress in the care and support we all know our veterans deserve and are entitled to. It is absolutely the right thing to do.
During this week dedicated to our veterans, how will we remember? We must make remembrance more than something we feel; we must make it something we do. I urge everyone to remember not only in their thoughts, but also in their actions, to honour the memory of the veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice in order to give us a future.
We must think of the Canadians who lost their lives in combat: 68,000 during the first world war; 47,000 during the second world war; 516 during the Korean War; and 152 in Afghanistan.
I ask everyone to wear their respect for our veterans loud and proud. We must tell them we care. We must let them know they are very precious to us and that their service is a point of personal and national pride. We must show them and the world how important their sacrifice and achievements are to us individually and to Canada as a nation. It is the very least we can do.
Michael Ignatieff Leader of the Opposition
Mr. Speaker, it is an honour for me to rise in the House on behalf of my party to pay tribute to our veterans and thank them for fighting to defend Canadian values and the freedom of people in other countries. Many of us here in the House have the honour of having personal relationships with veterans. I would like to take a moment to share my own personal memory of one veteran.
When I was a child, I spent several summers with my uncle in Richmond, Quebec. It was with him that I visited the cenotaph in Richmond. My uncle had fought in the battle of Monte Cassino, in Italy. He was in the Calgary Highlanders regiment. He came to Canada as a political refugee, then he went to war for Canada. Every Remembrance Day, he was there at the Richmond war memorial taking the salute, because he was president of the local legion.
My uncle's story is similar to that of many veterans. Perhaps it is shared by other members in the House. I wanted to share my memories of my uncle to say that these are very personal matters. These are family and childhood memories, and that is why we, as a country, feel such a strong connection to the memory of the services and sacrifices of our veterans. Inscribed on the Richmond war memorial are the names of those who died in South Africa and in both world wars in Europe, as well as those who sacrificed their lives in Korea and in peacekeeping missions around the world.
Today our country is at war. We have lost 152 brave Canadians in Afghanistan. Since Remembrance Day last year, we have lost 19.
On Remembrance Day we inscribe the names of the fallen into the book of Canadian memory and we give thanks that they stood and fought for the values that are so dear to the hearts of all Canadians and which we defend daily in the House of Commons.
Next week we will honour the veterans in legion halls and small cenotaphs across the country. I hope we will remember particularly our Métis and aboriginal veterans who fought so bravely for a country that did not always recognize their traditions and their history.
Today a new generation of veterans is returning from Afghanistan, sometimes injured in body, sometimes injured in mind. They represent the best of us and they deserve the best care that a grateful country can bestow on them.
All of those who serve in this House bear a special responsibility to our veterans because they defended the values of democracy, which we attempt, however imperfectly, to represent in our actions in this House.
We must do more than respect our veterans. We must, above all, listen to our veterans, especially when they tell us things we do not want to hear. We must listen in the legion halls across Canada. We must listen at the cenotaph next week. On Remembrance Day let us remember, let us respect and let us listen. They served us. We must serve them.
For our men and women serving abroad and for their families here at home, for those who have served our country in times of war and in times of peace, for the best, for the bravest of Canadians let us all join together across the divisions of partisan politics, the divides that seem so trivial, when we remember their sacrifice and the glory they have brought our country. We will remember. N'oublions jamais.
Guy André Berthier—Maskinongé, QC
Mr. Speaker, each year we rise in the House out of a solemn duty of remembrance. We must not forget the sacrifice made by the women and men who donned a military uniform. Those who served in the military did not do so for personal glory or gain, but out of a sense of duty to their fellow citizens. That is why we are honouring them today. They sacrificed themselves out of a sense of duty. When the need arose, they went to the front to protect the vulnerable, maintain peace and support democracy. More than once, they had to leave their families and friends to go to a far-off country, be it France, Italy, Germany, North Korea, Bosnia, Somalia or Afghanistan. They always lived up to what was asked of them.
During Veterans' Week, it is our duty to remember. We must not forget the men and women who jeopardized their safety and their health and even paid the ultimate price—they gave their lives—to ensure that their mission was successful. This may be beyond the comprehension of those who have never served in the Canadian armed forces, but we must see it as an expression of honour. Every soldier accepts his or her mission with humility, determination and courage. In turn, we have the collective duty to remember.
Today, when we remember the men and women who donned uniforms, we remember the successful outcome of their missions, and we remember the arduous work done by soldiers to restore peace, security, freedom and equality in countries ravaged by war. I am thinking, for example, of Europe and Korea, where they not only fought against oppression and dictatorship, but they also gave hope to local populations by helping them to regain their freedom.
In this time of remembrance, we should think especially of our soldiers who are currently in Afghanistan or who have already served in this theatre of operations. They are our modern veterans. No matter what we think about the politics of the Afghan mission, we must recognize the work and sacrifices of these Quebec and Canadian soldiers.
We believe that we have a collective responsibility to the men and women who are our veterans. Once they have completed their service, it is our duty to look after them. That is why we must always concern ourselves with the support given to veterans, those who proudly wore a uniform. It is also why the military and veterans deserve all the resources we can give them to meet their health care needs, particularly those suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome. All of us must remember because those who have gone to war will never forget.
Peter Stoffer Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS
Mr. Speaker, I am proud, on behalf of New Democrats from coast to coast to coast, to rise in the House of Commons to pay a special tribute to our veterans, RCMP veterans and their families.
We know that by the time we go to bed tonight, Canada will lose approximately another 100 heroes of World War II and Korea. If we include their families, that is another 160 people of that generation who will be lost to the aging process. It is these individuals, many before them, many who are serving today and many who will serve in the future, to whom we owe the greatest debt and gratitude.
We are able to sit in the House of Commons because they were the ones willing to risk their lives so we could live in a free, open and democratic society. As members of Parliament, whether we are in government or in opposition, we know that when these men and women sign up, they have unlimited liability. We in turn have the ultimate responsibility to their needs and their families needs, all the way to and including their headstones. That is the true sense of debt and gratitude paid for a debt that we can never fully repay for the sacrifices they made.
This year commemorates the postage stamp unveiling of a Mr. William Hall of Nova Scotia. William Hall was an African Nova Scotian. In the 1850s he was in Lucknow, India and because of his courageous efforts, he received the Victoria Cross. He was the very first black man and the very first sailor in Canadian history to receive the Victoria Cross. This year, everyone was honoured to see that his face was on a postage stamp to recognize his great efforts and what he had done.
We also recognize the tremendous efforts of our first nations, Métis and Inuit individuals who served in the various wars and conflict. As many of us know, in World War II, many of them were exempt for service duty, but they signed up anyway, to not only serve their people but to serve this nation and to free the people in the rest of the world.
I was born in Holland. My father met a Canadian soldier and asked him why they had came over. In simple Canadian modest terms, that Canadian soldier told my father, “We had a job to do”. My father told my mother, “If they have a military like that, can you imagine what kind of country they come from?” I know right now there are families in Afghanistan, in Haiti and around the world looking at our Canadian soldiers, our RCMP people and their families and also saying, “Imagine what kind of country they come from”.
I would like to quote the words of the Rt. Hon. Michaëlle Jean, the former Governor General of Canada, when she was in Halifax at the Queen's Consecration of the Colours. She said that when she was a little girl in Haiti, she feared the uniform of that country. Yet she stood in front of thousands and said, “How proud I am to wear the Canadian uniform”. No greater words can be said than that in recognition of our brave men and women who serve our wonderful country.
On behalf of all of us in the House, I pay a special tribute to all of those who are with us today, all of those who have served in the past, to the 118,000 who paid the ultimate sacrifice buried in over 70 countries around the world, to our current service personnel, RCMP personnel, and just as important, to their families. We say:
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
The Speaker Peter Milliken
I invite hon. members to rise and observe a moment of silence in respect to the veterans who have served our country so ably.
[A moment of silence observed]
Industry, Science and Technology
Committees of the House
David Sweet Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Westdale, ON
Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 10th report of the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology. In accordance with its order of reference of Tuesday, October 18, the committee has considered Bill C-28, An Act to promote the efficiency and adaptability of the Canadian economy by regulating certain activities that discourage reliance on electronic means of carrying out commercial activities, and to amend the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission Act, the Competition Act, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act and the Telecommunications Act, Fighting Internet and Wireless Spam Act, and agreed, on Tuesday, November 2, to report it with amendments.
Status of Women
Committees of the House
Hedy Fry Vancouver Centre, BC
Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the fourth report of the Standing Committee on the Status of Women, on Bill C-471, An Act respecting the implementation of the recommendations of the Pay Equity Task Force and amending another Act in consequence.
Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities
Committees of the House
Candice Bergen Portage—Lisgar, MB
Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the sixth report of the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities in relation to Bill C-31, An Act to amend the Old Age Security Act.. The committee has studied the bill and decided to report the bill back to the House with amendments.
I would like to thank members of the committee from both sides of the House for their hard work, support and collaboration during the study of this bill.
Foreign Affairs and International Development
Committees of the House
Dean Allison Niagara West—Glanbrook, ON
Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the second report of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development. This report is the result of a study done by our Subcommittee on International Human Rights and is entitled “Canada's Universal Periodic Review and Beyond—Upholding Canada’s International Reputation as a Global Leader in the Field of Human Rights”.
Pursuant to Standing Order 109 the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive report to this report.
Justice and Human Rights
Committees of the House
Ed Fast Abbotsford, BC
Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the seventh report of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights. In accordance with the order of reference of Tuesday, June 8, the committee has considered Bill C-389, An Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code (gender identity and gender expression) and agreed, on Tuesday, November 2, to report it without amendment.
Parliament of Canada Act
Alex Atamanenko British Columbia Southern Interior, BC
moved for leave to introduce Bill C-589, An Act to amend the Parliament of Canada Act and the Canada Post Corporation Act (use of resources by members).
Mr. Speaker, with my private member's bill, I propose to amend the Parliament of Canada Act to prohibit the members of the House of Commons from using funds, goods, services or premises made available to them, in other words taxpayer money, to carry out parliamentary functions in support of or in opposition to the appointment of the election of a person to the board of directors of the Canadian Wheat Board or any other federal body.
The bill would also amend the Canada Post Corporation Act to prohibit those members from transmitting mail free of postage for the same purpose.
As we know, the Conservative members recklessly spent a large amount of taxpayer money on the 2008 board elections. They showered the Prairies with fliers that promoted candidates who opposed the board. Taxpayers should not have to foot the bill again if the Conservatives decide to use the same strategy for the current elections.
In other words, this bill hopefully would prevent abuses of our democratic process in the future by not allowing any member of Parliament to use his or her funds to either oppose or support the elections of directors for the Canadian Wheat Board or similar organizations.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)
Scott Andrews Avalon, NL
Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure today to present a petition signed by 541 individuals from my riding. The petition concerns EI changes.
The petitioners encourage Parliament to maintain the benefit for 50 weeks in all regions, Bill C-10, eliminate the two-week waiting period and allow the pilot projects 11 and 12 to continue. The government has only agreed to continue these pilot projects for a year. As well, the best 14 weeks has only been agreed upon for eight months. It is so important to rural Canada, fish plant owners and the tourism industry.
This is one of many petitions I hope to present in the coming weeks.
Yves Lessard Chambly—Borduas, QC
Mr. Speaker, today I have the honour to present a petition signed by 575 people from my riding. This petition supports an initiative by FADOQ, a federation that represents seniors.
This petition calls on the government to implement automatic enrollment for the guaranteed income supplement (GIS), for the spouse's allowance and for the survivor's allowance. The petition also calls for the guaranteed income supplement to be increased by $110 a month for people living alone and for the monthly survivor's allowance to be increased to $199. It also calls on the government to implement full, unconditional retroactivity for people who have not been given the guaranteed income supplement and to extend the guaranteed income supplement and the spouse's allowance by six months upon the death of one of the beneficiaries in the couple.
Those are the wishes and requests of the 575 petitioners who want to improve life for our seniors.
Irene Mathyssen London—Fanshawe, ON
Madam Speaker, I have two petitions to present today.
The first is a petition from citizens across many communities and from all walks of life who want Parliament to know that they genuinely support and value the contributions of our veterans and that they regard a veteran as a veteran, regardless in which deployment or where an individual may have served.
The petitioners join the veterans ombudsman and General Walter Natynczyk in condemning the new veterans charter and the Department of Veterans Affairs for creating barriers to serving Canada's veterans. They also demand that existing services, such as veterans' hospitals, be mandated to serve modern-day veterans, including the more than 200,000 members of the armed forces who have served in peacekeeping missions since the Korean war.
The petitioners want there to be a full hearing in the House of Commons in response to the issues of pensions, special care programs, services and the preservation of an independent Department of Veterans Affairs and that Parliament act to ensure veterans and their families receive the supports they have been promised and to which they are entitled as members of the armed forces, past, present and future.