House of Commons Hansard #17 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was trade.

Topics

Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

Bloc

Christian Ouellet Brome—Missisquoi, QC

I will carry on, Madam Speaker.

At present, there is no protection for unions. In Colombia, one can kill a trade unionist and pay a fine. Does that qualify as protection of life and human rights? I think not. In that case, how can we be expected to vote for a free trade agreement with a country where we know human rights are not respected? While some Liberal members said this morning that progress had been made, the fact remains that 48 trade unionists were killed in 2008, as my colleague indicated. That is certainly 48 deaths too many. I do not think that Canada would have tolerated having 48 trade unionist murdered on its territory in 2008. That would make absolutely no sense because human rights are respected in Canada. So why do we not care about a South American country where human rights are much more severely trampled and very little progress is being made? Too little progress can be expected to be made, say within the next year, to see an agreement signed and expect that everything will be fine from then on.

The prevailing political, economic and social conditions in Colombia are deplorable, and not just because there are so many poor people. Conditions are bad because of the 17% of the population that I mentioned earlier, the people who are in government, who keep the government in power, who control commercial activity, and who thwart efforts to pass social legislation. We are not talking about a democratic government that all citizens have a say in. Most of the illiterate people do not have a chance to express themselves. One has to wonder why a government like Colombia's would even want to sign a free trade agreement with Canada. Clearly, the real reason for this agreement is investment.

If Colombia is just after investment, then, to be sure, it will not bite the hands that feed it. It will not pass restrictive laws. It is clear to me that an agreement like this one, with a poor country, is not an agreement between equals. The poor country wants an agreement that makes it easier for investors to play a leading role. This agreement is ill-conceived. It will enable the Government of Colombia to keep doing what it has been doing all along. The government will not voluntarily pass measures that could reduce returns on those investments, and this agreement will not require it to do so.

These are all reasons why we must vote against this agreement. I believe that anyone voting for this agreement will be doing so for purely electoral reasons.

Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act
Government Orders

2 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

When this bill comes up for debate again in the House, the hon. member for Brome—Missisquoi will have 10 minutes for questions and comments on his speech.

Maureen Vodrey
Statements by Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Ted Menzies Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to stand in the House today to congratulate senior interpreter, Maureen Vodrey, on her retirement from the House of Commons.

Maureen is the longest serving parliamentary interpreter in Canadian history, beginning her career in 1973 at a time when Pierre Trudeau was our prime minister and John Diefenbaker was still a member of this House. She has interpreted countless events, including royal visits, leadership debates and the 1982 repatriation of Canada's Constitution.

During her career, Maureen interpreted for Ed Broadbent, Jean Chrétien. She even interpreted Joe Clark's High River French, John Diefenbaker, Robert Stanfield and John Turner, just to name a few.

Her loyal service has made her a witness to history, not to mention an expert in parliamentary procedure. She has won numerous awards for her craft and has earned tremendous respect from her colleagues both on and off the Hill.

Please join me, along with her husband Robert and son Simon, in congratulating Maureen Vodrey on 37 years of outstanding service to Canada and this House.

Infrastructure
Statements by Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

John Cannis Scarborough Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the other day during debate members of the Conservative government were outlining the infrastructure and RInC money given to their ridings. I am happy for them, but for years I have been corresponding with various ministers requesting financial assistance for the building of the first Greek Canadian cultural community centre in Toronto. My correspondence seems to have been passed from one department to the other and one minister to another. The answer is always no, no money.

Greek Canadians are proud Canadians. They too have played a role in building this great country of ours. They too pay taxes. Therefore, I ask this. Why is the Conservative government turning its back on the Green community?

A government is elected to treat its people fairly and equally, especially today, March 25, when Greek Canadians are celebrating Greek Independence Day and the Greek community of Toronto is celebrating its 100th anniversary in Canada. It seems the Conservative government does not like Greek people. What a shame.

Come election time, they will not forget.

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
Statements by Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Yvon Lévesque Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou, QC

Mr. Speaker, this morning I had the chance to meet the delegates of the Pauktuutit annual general meeting. This association advocates on behalf of Inuit women, helps guide them on pursuing equality issues and encourages their participation in social and political life in their communities and in Canada.

Pauktuutit organizes activities to promote women's and children's rights, gender equality and abuse prevention. Founded in 1984 with modest means, Pauktuutit is now a respected organization that assists thousands of women.

At their annual general meeting, the delegates told me about their concerns that the Conservative government had still not signed the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. I want to remind the government of the importance of signing this daring and promising human rights instrument.

Maternal and Child Health
Statements by Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, I recently travelled to Ethiopia with an NGO called Results Canada.

During this trip, I learned that tuberculosis, which killed 1.8 million people in 2008, can be treated for just $20 per person.

I also came to realize the impact that access to basic sanitation can have on the health of a child and an entire community.

I witnessed the quality of the work done by community and health workers who provide care and a clean space where a woman can safely give birth to her child.

I would like to congratulate Results Canada on its efforts and its incredible work.

However, the Conservative government has a responsibility towards the poor in this world. The government must act immediately by investing in these types of effective, low-cost interventions that save the lives of millions of women and children in this world. The mothers and children of this world cannot wait any longer.

Canwest Canspell National Spelling Bee
Statements by Members

March 25th, 2010 / 2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Candice Bergen Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to congratulate the Canwest Canspell spelling bee participants from across Canada. This grassroots literacy initiative encourages academic excellence in grades four to eight students. Approximately 250,000 young spellers participated in the 2010 Canspell competition.

I would like to make special mention of Josh Mathews who is with us on Parliament Hill today with many of his fellow competitors. He is a grade five student from the riding of Winnipeg South and he won the Winnipeg Free Press regional spelling bee.

Josh and the top spellers from each regional bee received a $5,000 Canspell Education Award. Congratulations to all them. I wish them the best of luck this week as they compete for the Canadian title.

I would also like to point out that it is Josh's 11th birthday on Monday. Happy Birthday, Josh, and good luck to everyone involved.

Epilepsy
Statements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, tomorrow, March 26, is Purple Day, a day to raise international awareness about epilepsy. I would like to encourage my colleagues to wear purple in support of this special event.

Epilepsy is one of the most common neurological disorders affecting 300,000 Canadians and 50 million people globally.

In 2008, Cassidy Megan, a young girl who lives in my riding of Halifax West, founded Purple Day to build support for people with epilepsy. I hope all of us will join Cassidy and wear purple tomorrow.

Global Advocacy Days
Statements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Joy Smith Kildonan—St. Paul, MB

Mr. Speaker, today marks the 203rd anniversary of the enactment of the Slave Trade Act by the British Parliament. This historical legislation resulted in the end of the Atlantic slave trade. However, today there are more humans enslaved than any other given moment throughout history.

Over the past two days, Ottawa has played host to the Global Advocacy Days, the first conference in Canadian history to educate and equip modern abolitionists.

The Global Advocacy Days has been organized by the Not For Sale, an international movement of students, artists, people of faith and many others all united to fight the global slave trade. Yesterday, I had the honour of speaking to these great and dedicated Canadians who are fiercely committed to ending this modern day slave trade that remains a terrible mark upon our generation.

Today, I am pleased to welcome our Canadian abolitionists and Dr. David Batstone, founder of the Not For Sale Campaign on Parliament Hill.

After question period today, I invite all hon. members to Room 200 West Block, at 3:30 p.m., to meet these advocates and help end human slavery once and for all.

Jean Brisson
Statements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Guimond Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, a remarkable citizen from my riding is celebrating his birthday today. At 79, phenomenal personality Jean Brisson is still hosting his own daily radio program on a Rimouski station, and he still brings the same energy and outstanding passion to the job as he did when he started in 1949.

The time I have today is not nearly enough to highlight his career and his many accomplishments. As a consultant, columnist, and television, radio and telethon host, Mr. Brisson dedicated his life to his community and to the well-being of all. He took on countless challenges and became well-known through his involvement in many social and humanitarian causes. I would like to wish Mr. Brisson a very happy birthday and to congratulate him on his brilliant career.

I hope my friend has a truly wonderful day and a joyful year. He is an inspiration to us all.

The Economy
Statements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Dave MacKenzie Oxford, ON

Mr. Speaker, our government's number one priority is the creation of jobs and economic growth.

I am pleased to announce that today the Prime Minister welcomed Kongsberg Defence and Aerospace's decision to create jobs and invest in Canada by opening a new manufacturing facility in London, Ontario, which is just down the road from the riding of Oxford.

The new facility is expected to directly create up to 100 jobs in the London area, with a further 500 jobs through supplier activity. These are the kinds of knowledge intensive jobs on which the highly developed economy of the future will be based.

Kongsberg's decision confirms that Canada has the right conditions to attract and nurture the new economy. Canada is open for business and will emerge from recession more powerful, more competitive and more prosperous than it ever was before.

National Day of Reflection on the Prevention of Genocide
Statements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, two years ago the House unanimously adopted a motion designating April 7 as the National Day of Reflection on the Prevention of Genocide.

I rise today in remembrance and commemoration of the 16th anniversary of Rwandan genocide, of horrors too terrible to be believed but not too terrible to have happened, where one million Rwandans, mostly ethnic Tutsis and Hutus, were murdered in less than 100 days.

But the worst horror is not only that of the genocide itself but that this genocide was preventable. No one can say that we did not know. We knew but we did not act.

And so, as the Security Council and international community dithered and delayed, Rwandans died.

Indeed, the great tragedy is not only how many Rwandans were murdered but how so few intervened to save them, ignoring the compelling lesson of history that the Rwandan genocide occurred not simply because of the machinery of death but because of indifference in the face of incitement and atrocity.

Never again.

Project Hero
Statements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Bradley Trost Saskatoon—Humboldt, SK

Mr. Speaker, Project Hero, which was started in 2009 by retired General Rick Hillier and honorary Lieutenant Colonel Kevin Reid, is a unique program which provides undergraduate scholarships to the children of fallen Canadian armed forces service men and women.

Sadly, a ragtag group of radical leftist professors at the University of Regina are opposed to Project Hero, including the leader of the pack whose research interests include Marxism and the Latin American left. The attitude of these so-called academics is shameful.

Project Hero is giving a helping hand to the children of men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the service of our country. Yet a bunch of comfortable academics sitting thousands of kilometres away at a university far from the fields of Afghanistan have the nerve to oppose this program.

These so-called academics should stop letting their extreme left-wing views in opposition to the conflict in Afghanistan get in the way. They should join Canadians in getting behind Project Hero.

Canwest Canspell National Spelling Bee
Statements by Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Denise Savoie Victoria, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise to give a 21 gun salute to 21 young scholars from across Canada. They are in Ottawa this week to participate in the Canwest Canspell National Spelling Bee. Among them, I am proud to say, is my constituent, Laura Weir, who won the Victoria Times Colonist regional spelling bee.

A quarter of a million middle school students participate annually in this competition. That is a quarter of a million young Canadians celebrating literacy together and setting an example.

Regional champions, like Laura, are available to help members and senators with their spelling today and they will be in Kanata to cheer on the other Senators on Saturday.

Though only one winner can compete internationally, I congratulate all the Olympian spellers. They make us p-r-o-u-d, proud.

Liberal Party of Canada
Statements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Sylvie Boucher Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Mr. Speaker, tomorrow, the Liberal leader will chair a conference of leading thinkers in Montreal in an effort to reinvigorate his party and offer people a credible alternative to the Conservative government.

Of course, this is the same Liberal leader who was all set to topple the government last fall even though he had no plan of his own for governing. Six months on, he is on a mission to come up with some fabulous new ideas.

Some 250 people are expected to participate in the conference, and they will all be paying an unbelievable amount of money for the privilege of attending.

The purpose of this meeting of leading thinkers is this: “The objective is not to advance simple solutions, or short-term tactics. Rather, the conference will start a national dialogue about the big issues that will determine the future well-being of Canadian families, individuals and both urban and rural communities”.

Oddly enough, the Liberal leader did not see fit to invite his own MPs.

Does he really think that ideas put forward by his—