House of Commons Hansard #12 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was speech.

Topics

Resumption of Debate on Address in Reply
Speech from the Throne

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Shawn Murphy Charlottetown, PE

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to participate in the debate from the Speech from the Throne, although I should say at the outset that I find the debate, and I guess the whole Speech from the Throne, somewhat unusual and somewhat strange. A Speech from the Throne has a very long tradition in history, in our Commonwealth, in our western democracy system, under the Westminster system. Usually, it is the agenda of the government, read by Her Majesty the Queen, or in the case of Canada a representative of Her Majesty the Queen. It basically sets out what the government intends to accomplish over the term of the Parliament, or the session, and lays out a best-case scenario, if everything goes well, of what that government intends to accomplish. Of course it is read by a representative of Her Majesty the Queen.

This document is somewhat strange because this, as we know, is the third Speech from the Throne we have had in about 15 months. We did have a Speech from the Throne in November 2008. We had another one in February 2009. And now we have one in March of this year, and it really is not an agenda. It is not a vision. Basically, what I see it being is a list of certain items that are going on in the country, the crisis in Haiti and the Olympic Games, and it is a list of programs. I think the government went to every department and agency in Ottawa and asked for a list of what they have been doing over the last five years, and this has all been appended into the Speech from the Throne. It really does not give anything in the way of an agenda or a vision or what the government really intends to accomplish over the next session of this, the 40th Parliament of Canada.

I am going to make the submission that there are a lot of issues facing Canadians. These are issues that I think should have been in the Speech from the Throne. They are issues that Canadians are talking about. Of course the first issue was the prorogation of this House, this assembly, that occurred back in December of last year. That is what they are talking about. They certainly would have liked to have seen something in the Speech from the Throne that would put some limits, some restrictions, on that right to prorogue this Parliament, this assembly.

Besides that, there are a number of other issues that I do believe warrant a public discussion, which should have been in the Speech from the Throne. The first issue I will mention is the whole demographic transition that the population of Canada is undergoing. We are becoming an older society. We have fewer children. There is a much higher dependency rate. There are fewer citizens under the age of 18 and a lot more over the age of 65, which of course increases our dependency rate.

Resumption of Debate on Address in Reply
Speech from the Throne

1:55 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker Denise Savoie

I will have to interrupt the hon. member until after question period. When he resumes his speech, he will have six and a half minutes left for his comments and five minutes for questions.

Tribute Dinner
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Bob Dechert Mississauga—Erindale, ON

Madam Speaker, on March 25, Community Living Mississauga will be honouring one of Mississauga's most outstanding citizens, Mr. Victor Oh.

For decades, Victor Oh has selflessly contributed his time, talent and resources to community and charitable organizations. As president of the Mississauga Chinese Business Association, he ensured that the MCBA was a key sponsor of the race against racism.

Victor has been active in assisting newcomers to the Peel region to settle into our community. Each month, he hosts a reception for new Canadian citizens. He has also served as vice-chair of Safe City Mississauga and is the recipient of the Robert Boyne Memorial Award for his community work in promoting and advancing crime prevention.

Last year, the Prime Minister chose Victor Oh to travel with him on his historic visit to China as a trusted adviser.

I ask all members of the House to join with me in congratulating Mr. Victor Oh.

The Environment
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Madam Speaker, I would like to read a letter from one of my constituents on the topic of climate change. It says:

Dear Prime Minister:

We are Canadian citizens who know full well that we, and our children, will have to take personal responsibility during huge unpredictable changes inherent in the climate crisis.

We are not idealists. We are not unquestioning scientific groupies. We are well-read and very well educated. We are the mothers and fathers of med students, lawyers and former pages in the House.

I believe that an unalterable mistake is being made in the lack of commitment to cut back emissions. We are deeply disappointed with your values.

Respectfully yours,

Beverly Birkman-McKendy

Dorval, Quebec

I agree with Beverly's comments. I strongly urge the Conservative government to take swift action to address the issue of climate change. Not to do so would give proof to the description that has been made of them in the House—

The Environment
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker Denise Savoie

The hon. member for Laurentides--Labelle.

Erik Guay
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Johanne Deschamps Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Madam Speaker, today I would like to pay tribute to a great athlete, a resident of Mont-Tremblant in my riding, Erik Guay.

On March 11, with his second super G win in five days and his third consecutive podium finish in as many days, this 28-year-old alpine skier got his hands on the small crystal globe that goes to the best skier of the season in super G. Erik Guay is the first Quebecker to receive such an honour.

On the heels of his disappointing fifth-place finish in two events at the Vancouver Olympic Games, he ended his season with a bang by finishing first overall in super G.

This outstanding athlete, whose trainer is quick to describe him as a competitive, mature skier with a flawless mental game, is certainly a source of inspiration and pride for all of us.

My colleagues in the Bloc Québécois and I want to congratulate Erik Guay on his achievement.

International Day of La Francophonie
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Claude Gravelle Nickel Belt, ON

Mr. Speaker, with the International Day of la Francophonie being celebrated on March 20, the New Democratic Party would like to wish all the francophones and francophiles here in Canada and abroad a happy International Day of la Francophonie.

Despite the progress we have been able to make in Canada over the past 40 years with respect to bilingualism and support for French-language minority communities, unfortunately there is still too much inequality.

If you think of the government’s lack of will to foster the French language, you might wonder if the situation is even getting worse.

Despite its great promises, the government has disparaged the rights of francophones since coming to power, and the francophones of this country have had enough. With the International Day of La Francophonie upon us, I have a wish to make. I wish that the government will once and for all recognize the francophones of this country as full citizens and give them the rights to which they are entitled.

I am very proud to be a Franco-Ontarian.

Democracy
Statements By Members

March 18th, 2010 / 2 p.m.

Conservative

Leon Benoit Vegreville—Wainwright, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have heard people say that Canadians are not interested in the political process. I disagree. I recently held 17 town hall accountability meetings throughout my riding and my constituents brought to me a wide range of issues, including the economy, justice and agriculture issues, to mention a few.

I am proud to say that many of the things my constituents were asking for have already been delivered by this Conservative government. They generally supported the targeted short-term stimulus funding but made it clear that it was time to bring the budget back into balance. Our government has delivered with a responsible plan to do exactly that. They told me that they wanted our justice system to focus more on protecting society and victims of crimes and less on criminals, and we are doing exactly that.

For democracy to work, we as MPs must keep in touch with those we represent. Therefore, I thank everyone who attended one of my town hall meetings for doing that and for participating. Democracy is indeed alive and well.

World Firefighter Combat Challenge
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Foote Random—Burin—St. George's, NL

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to a young man from my riding of Random—Burin—St. George's. Dwayne Drover, originally from the small town of Lourdes, a community of 550 people, can rightly claim to be a world champion.

At the World Firefighter Combat Challenge held in Las Vegas in November, Dwayne finished first in the individual category earning him the title of the best firefighter in the world. In addition, Dwayne placed first in the tandem competition.

Dwayne is a firefighter with the City of Waterloo Fire Department in Ontario, and, when preparing for a competition, trains five to six hours a day, in addition to carrying out his regular responsibilities.

After winning the challenge in Las Vegas, Dwayne said that the experience for him was the equivalent of winning the Stanley Cup.

We all know how important firefighters are and the incredible personal sacrifice they make in safeguarding the lives of others.

I ask all members to join me in saluting all firefighters and, in particular, Dwayne Drover on this remarkable accomplishment.

University Athlete of the Year
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Holder London West, ON

Mr. Speaker, London, Ontario has a secret that is hard to keep. We have a rising star who is gaining national and international prominence.

Last week, Jen Cotten was named the outstanding female athlete of this year's Canadian University Championships.

As a University of Western Ontario student, Jen has broken many records and leaves as the most-decorated university track and field athlete, male or female, ever. She has come to dominate the pentathlon, as well as the long jump, high jump, shot put and hurdles.

At major national and international competitions, Jen has been awarded the most valuable athlete, the most outstanding athlete, the most valuable female performer and the most outstanding female athlete. She has also been recognized with other prestigious awards but is extraordinarily modest and keeps a great sense of humour.

Jen Cotten has our best wishes as she looks ahead to the next summer Olympics in 2012. Getting there will be a lot of work but we have every confidence IN Jen. Her resume already reads like the Olympic motto, “Swifter, higher, stronger”.

While we will cheer loudly for Jen, it will never be louder than her deeply proud grandfather, the member for Oxford.

Clara Hughes
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Christian Ouellet Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to pay tribute to Clara Hughes, a prominent athlete from Glen Sutton, in my riding of Brome—Missisquoi.

The crowning achievement of Ms. Hughes' amazing career was certainly winning the bronze medal in the 5,000 metre long track speed skating event at the Vancouver Olympics.

Let me just say loud and clear that this was her sixth medal in five Olympic Games. Clara Hughes is one of only four athletes in the entire history of the Olympics to win medals in both the summer Olympics—in cycling—and the winter Olympics—in speed skating.

A tremendously generous athlete, Ms. Hughes donated the prize money from her medal win to the children sponsored by the “take a hike” organization, and in Turin, she donated $10,000 out of her own pocket to the “right to play” program.

We in the Bloc Québécois extend our warmest congratulations to Clara Hughes.

Justice
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Daniel Petit Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Mr. Speaker, earlier this week, our government announced legislative changes to strengthen the way the young offenders system deals with violent and repeat offenders.

Yesterday, a bill to strengthen the National Sex Offender Registry was announced. The Protecting Victims From Sex Offenders Act would further protect our children and all Canadians.

Our government believes that Quebeckers and Canadians have the right to feel safe in their communities. Our government is going one step further by making the protection of society the key principle of the federal correctional system.

Today, we introduced a bill to amend the International Transfer of Offenders Act.

Our Conservative government continues to move forward and put public safety first in order to protect our families and our communities.

Oscar Peterson
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Ottawa South, ON

Mr. Speaker, the National Arts Centre just kicked off a fundraiser to honour Oscar Peterson, arguably the greatest jazz man of all time.

Peterson grew up in Montreal in humble circumstances and rose to the top of his art.

Generations of Canadian musicians have been influenced by his talent, and so it is appropriate that the NAC should commemorate his distinguished career.

Oscar Peterson made generations of Canadians dance, cry and pause to reflect, especially at his many appearances at the Montreal International Jazz Festival.

His music is part of the cultural history of Quebec and Canada. His personal story will continue to inspire Canadians and to honour our society.

I encourage Canadians to contribute to the National Arts Centre campaign and to discover or rediscover the music of this great Quebecker and Canadian.

Economic Action Plan
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Alice Wong Richmond, BC

Mr. Speaker, our government is now implementing year two of Canada's economic action plan. This plan has helped Canada cope with the effects of the global recession better than nearly every other industrialized country.

Our plan cut taxes for families. We extended EI benefits to help the unemployed and we expanded skills training for those moving into new jobs. In every corner of this country, almost 60,000 infrastructure projects are putting Canadians to work and building hope in the largest cities and smallest towns.

Our plan is working. Since last July, almost 160,000 new jobs have been created, but our work is not yet complete. We will not be satisfied until all Canadians who have lost jobs are working again. Canadians can count on our government to continue to put jobs and the economy first. Jobs and economic growth remain our priority.

Tuberculosis
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, tuberculosis rates among aboriginal Canadians are skyrocketing at levels higher than many third world countries. This is a national emergency that needs an urgent plan of action and yet the government has no plan, not even on first nations reserves for which it has clear constitutional responsibility.

Can anyone imagine that Inuit TB rates are 185 times the national average and the Minister of Health, the member for Nunavut, is not even raising an eyebrow, all the while trying to slough the responsibility off onto provinces and territories? Aboriginal TB rates are 51 times the general public and yet the government refuses to pay for X-rays to test residents on reserves like Garden Hill in Manitoba. TB is a treatable disease but Canadian lives are still being lost.

However, members do not need take it from me. They need only look at the research and the recent award-winning Winnipeg Free Press series by Jen Skerritt and follow up by reporter Mia Rabson. TB is called ”the forgotten disease”. It certainly has been forgotten by the government and that must end today.