House of Commons Hansard #4 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

Rights & Democracy
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde La Pointe-de-l'Île, QC

Mr. Speaker, the International Federation of Human Rights Leagues is adding its voice to the criticisms of Gérard Latulippe's appointment as president of Rights & Democracy. According to the federation, his positions on the death penalty and same-sex marriage show that he does not have the moral authority to head Rights & Democracy.

Not only has the government lost all credibility by appointing Mr. Latulippe, but it is demonstrating its interference and incompetence.

Does the government realize this?

Rights & Democracy
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Pontiac
Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the government appointed Mr. Latulippe as president of Rights & Democracy following an open and transparent competition.

We believe that with his extensive experience, including with the National Democratic Institute, he is not only an appropriate candidate, but a very well qualified one.

Rights & Democracy
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde La Pointe-de-l'Île, QC

Mr. Speaker, René Provost, director of the Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism at McGill University, cautions the government against thinking it can “convince the international community by engaging in a superficial cover-up”. Those are his words.

There is a simple way the government can correctly identify the problem, and that is to have a parliamentary committee conduct an inquiry and have the board of Rights & Democracy come under a committee of wise persons.

Is the government prepared to explore these solutions?

Rights & Democracy
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Pontiac
Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, we have made the necessary decisions. We have asked Mr. Latulippe to take on this extremely important responsibility because of his ability and experience. We have asked him to take on the responsibility of running this organization. This is an extremely important organization that plays a key role on the international stage, and we intend to keep supporting it.

However, if the parliamentary committee wants to call anyone to appear, it is free to do so. As I have said, it is quite—

Rights & Democracy
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine.

Rights & Democracy
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, Gérard Latulippe, the new president of Rights & Democracy, has been at the centre of a number of controversies, the most recent involving the International Federation of Human Rights Leagues.

As my Bloc colleague mentioned, the federation stated that Mr. Latulippe does not have the moral authority to head this organization.

This Conservative appointment has tarnished Canada's reputation abroad.

Does the government agree with Mr. Latulippe's racist statements about Muslim immigration to Quebec?

Rights & Democracy
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Pontiac
Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, let me quote an interested party, who said:

He is just highly respected in the whole field. I just don’t understand the questioning of his credentials.

This comes from Leslie Campbell, former chief of staff to Audrey McLaughlin and current senior associate and regional director for the Middle East and North African National Democratic Institute.

Rights & Democracy
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, Sima Samar is the president of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission and was a member of the Rights & Democracy board until she resigned in January because she was concerned about the current chairman's political agenda. Ms. Samar also noted that the new president, Gérard Latulippe, had previously declared Muslim immigration a threat to Quebec.

Does the government agree with Mr. Latulippe's past racist statement concerning Muslim immigration to Quebec, yes or no?

Rights & Democracy
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Pontiac
Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, let me give the House another quotation, for the record. It says:

Ironically, the Bloc and Liberal opposition, while simultaneously decrying the government's continued partisanship, have rejected Mr. Latulippe's appointment on almost purely political grounds...While I don't share Mr. Latulippe's political orientation, I don't believe that stated political views and career path are reasons to question a person's capacity to act in a principled manner.

Who said that? Former NDP strategist Brian Topp in The Globe and Mail.

Citizenship and Immigration
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Lise Zarac LaSalle—Émard, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the Citizenship Act was unconstitutional because it discriminates against women.

Specifically, a child born outside Canada to a Canadian father is entitled to Canadian citizenship, but a child born outside Canada to a Canadian mother does not have that same right.

Can the Minister of State for the Status of Women explain what her government intends to do to correct this shameful situation?

Citizenship and Immigration
Oral Questions

March 8th, 2010 / 2:40 p.m.

Calgary Southeast
Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney Minister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, we dealt with that during the last session of Parliament. We introduced Bill C-37, which received the support of all opposition parties and eliminated the discrimination previously found in the Citizenship Act.

This is what Don Chapman, spokesperson for Lost Canadians, had to say about it:

“This ends today”, the introduction of that bill, “140 years of discrimination against women and children on Canadian citizenship”.

I should add that, when the Liberals were in power, they did nothing to resolve the lost Canadians issue. They supported the solution set out in the bill during the last session of Parliament.

Citizenship and Immigration
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Lise Zarac LaSalle—Émard, QC

Mr. Speaker, today is International Women's Day. Yet today, children born abroad to Canadian women are denied the citizenship given automatically to children of Canadian men.

The minister's office noted last year that she would, “like to be of assistance on this issue”, and still there has been no action to correct this sexist policy.

Will the minister explain to Canadians why, on citizenship, the government continues to treat women as less equal than men?

Citizenship and Immigration
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Calgary Southeast
Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney Minister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, the member does herself a disservice with that kind of demagoguery.

This government, Parliament and the Liberal Party adopted Bill C-37 in the last Parliament to correct the Citizenship Act to welcome back to Canadian citizenship hundreds of thousands of lost Canadians.

It eliminated discrimination in the 1947 act on grounds of gender, which is why Don Chapman said that it ends 140 years of discrimination against women and children.

If the hon. member is against the changes that were made, why did her party support them without amendment?

Government Appointments
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Patrick Brown Barrie, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canada's economic action plan is committed to improve inefficiencies across the government. This morning, the President of the Treasury Board fulfilled that commitment when he announced the reduction of 245 appointments across the federal government.

Could the President of the Treasury Board tell members of the House why this announcement is important for Canadians who are expecting the best possible service from their federal government?

Government Appointments
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla
B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day President of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway

Mr. Speaker, this is an important question because it was over a year ago that we said we would carry out a review of all of these government appointments. These are not public servants. These are government appointments to trades, to commissions, boards and agencies.

It was found that in looking at some 2,700 positions, about 245 of them, most of which were vacant at the time pending the review, could actually be dispensed with, and yet the agencies and boards could still operate efficiently.

It is what taxpayers want us to do. They want us to conduct the affairs of government and its services in an efficient way, and do it in a way that respects the taxpayers. That is what we are doing and we will keep doing it.