House of Commons Hansard #28 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was colombia.

Topics

Canada-Columbia Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

South Shore—St. Margaret's
Nova Scotia

Conservative

Gerald Keddy Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, I listened very closely to my hon. colleague's comments and I listened to some of the criticisms from the New Democratic Party.

I think it bears taking a moment to reflect on the fact that the New Democratic Party has never supported a trade agreement in this House, let alone a free trade agreement in this House. The NDP continues to mislead the general public and it uses facts that are absolutely incorrect that it would never repeat outside this House.

How do we deal with that in a democratic forum?

Canada-Columbia Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Conservative

Randy Hoback Prince Albert, SK

Mr. Speaker, I come from a province that has had an NDP government. It was a government of have nots and a government that could not do. It was a flat earth society in Saskatchewan until we realized that we could, would and did change that. If people look at my province today, they will see the examples of those types of benefits.

I ask my colleagues in the NDP to realize that trade is not evil. If they try to understand it they will recognize the benefits that trade and business provides to our country.

Canada-Columbia Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, having two Business Excellence Awards under my belt, I certainly do not take any lessons from the hon. member about what is good for business and communities.

What all Conservatives are refusing to mention are the clear links between the Uribe regime and the murderous paramilitary thugs who kill human rights and labour activists. In fact, the Defense Intelligence Agency in the United States talked about Mr. Uribe being a big fan of the Medellin cartel. He developed and prospered in the political system through his links with the Medillin cartel and he is a personal friend of Pablo Escobar.

Since the Conservatives always used to say that they were tough on crime, why are they being soft on the crimes of the Colombian government?

Canada-Columbia Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Conservative

Randy Hoback Prince Albert, SK

Mr. Speaker, I cannot think of any country in this world that did not have a rocky start. If we look at the U.S., it had assassinations of presidents, for example, when it had its start.

Looking at what we can do as Canadians to help Colombians, I think it is a lot better to encourage them, work with them and bring them forward instead of poking a stick in their eyes and saying that they are doing everything wrong. Instead of telling Colombians that they are not good enough, why do we not accept them for what they are and help them? We can learn from them as they learn from us and both of us will benefit from an agreement like this.

Canada-Columbia Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Bloc

Diane Bourgeois Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am speaking to the House for the umpteenth time about the implementation of the Canada-Colombia free trade agreement, the infamous Bill C-2, which the government insists that we pass without discussing any of the human and social considerations about which the public has sent us so many emails.

Clearly, the Bloc Québécois will say for the umpteenth time that it is against this free trade agreement.

Earlier I heard my colleagues from other political parties praising this agreement and its resulting business and export opportunities. I do not know where they are getting this from because there is not a great deal we can export to Colombia. It is an extremely poor country, which imports very little. It exports a bit of grain, but that is about it.

They are not mentioning the real reason they absolutely want to conclude a free trade agreement with Colombia. Below its soil there are desirable minerals. The motives for this agreement are the minerals found underground in Colombia. No one has said so directly here in the House, except of course the opposition parties who have nothing to hide.

This agreement contains a chapter on investment protection, which will make life easier for Canadian investors who invest in Colombia, particularly in the mining sector.

Over the years, the Conservative government has signed a number of agreements with different countries, and the primary concern of all these agreements has been the return on investments.

We believe that this provision has always put investors' profits ahead of human and social rights. It is very dangerous in a country such as Colombia, a country where labour or environmental protection laws are haphazard. When a law is enacted to protect the Canadian investor, it is at the expense of a people or a country.

Colombia has one of the worst human rights records in the world, and certainly in Latin America. Human rights are not important to Colombia.

During the many weeks that we have been discussing this agreement, the government has constantly repeated that the agreement it will sign with Colombia also has two side agreements—one on labour and another on the environment. We know very well that side agreements are ineffective. They are not part of the free trade agreement, which means that investors can—with impunity—destroy Colombia's rich environment, displace people in favour of mine development, and continue to murder trade unionists or NGO workers who defend human rights.

Today, we received an email from a Colombian-Canadian living in Montreal. He told us that human rights violations are rampant in Colombia. He also said that one of the most serious accusations against the Uribe government involves the biggest spy scandal in Colombian history perpetrated by the administrative security department.

It involves the secret police of President Alvaro Uribe's government. This citizen forwarded a copy of a 166-page document that was discovered. It indicates that Mr. Uribe's government wanted to create controversy around NGOs and link them to drug trafficking organizations. It is clear: that is what it says in the Uribe government document. When we are told in this House that the Colombian government—

Canada-Columbia Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Barry Devolin

I am sorry to interrupt the hon. member, but it is now time for oral questions.

The hon. member will have four minutes when debate resumes.

The Environment
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

David Sweet Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Westdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, this being Earth Week, I rise to congratulate a group of citizens in my riding on a significant breakthrough last Tuesday in their battle to stop a quarry in northeast Flamborough, a quarry that would have damaged important wetlands and ecosystems that support unique species, songbirds, raptors and all manner of flora and fauna on this side of the Niagara Escarpment.

Graham Flint, who left his international career and donated countless volunteer hours to lead hundreds of FORCE members from Carlisle, Freelton, Mountsberg, Kilbride and area, said it best, “Together we have succeeded”. That is because last week, the Ontario cabinet ordered the quarry stopped. Pending any potential appeal by the company, residents in the area can breathe a sigh of relief.

FORCE stands for Friends of Rural Communities and the Environment. I can say from attending some of their events that they are a force to be reckoned with.

Special recognition is also due to my provincial colleague, hon. Ted McMeekin, and local city councillor Margaret McCarthy. It was a joyous occasion for both of them, Mr. Flint and FORCE, and it is great news for safe local drinking water and the environment.

Status of Women
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett St. Paul's, ON

Mr. Speaker, on Saturday, April 17, we celebrated the 25th anniversary of Equality Day.

We have come a long way in 25 years, but we still have a long way to go.

This past weekend at the Thinking Women's Brain Spa, there was huge concern that Canadian women are now fighting to hold on to the rights we have, instead of being able to fight for equality for all women.

Marilou McPhedren spoke on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Legal Education and Action Fund and explained that, without resources for gender equality initiatives, women's rights will be further eroded and there is a need for evidence-based advocacy for the lived rights of Canadian women.

Nancy Peckford and the fabulous team from Equal Voice led us in the “Be Her or Support Her” boot camp to get more women elected, and Mary Anne Burke and Margrit Eichler taught us the tools of the bias-free framework, tools for the shared goal of full equality for all Canadians.

Franco Materazzi
Statements By Members

April 19th, 2010 / 2 p.m.

Bloc

Richard Nadeau Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, Franco Materazzi passed away on March 29, 2010. The Outaouais region is in mourning for a great economist.

Mr. Materazzi studied and was familiar with the region's economic development, and was a key contributor to it as well. He identified all the problems our businesses face with regard to federal government contracts, and outlined the challenges of developing high-tech companies in the Outaouais region. His many studies have become indispensable.

I met Mr. Materazzi and immediately understood why he was so admired. His dream was not to take centre stage, but to help businesses get established. He was a compassionate man, who was involved with the Fondation de l'Université du Québec en Outaouais for many years.

On behalf of myself and my Bloc Québécois colleagues, I offer my sincere condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Materazzi.

Baisakhi Festival
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Wayne Marston Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, ON

Mr. Speaker, last week in my home town of Hamilton, Ontario, our Sikh community celebrated the annual Baisakhi Festival. For Sikhs everywhere, Baisakhi marks the time farmers harvest crops in India and the beginning of the new spring.

This festival is celebrated with great enthusiasm around the world, wherever there are Sikh communities. On this day in Punjab, farmers thank God for the bountiful harvest and pray for prosperity in the coming year. The day of the Baisakhi festival has tremendous significance in Sikhism. It is on this day that Sikhs everywhere commemorate the establishment of the Khalsa in 1699 by the 10th Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh Ji.

In keeping with the spirit of this special occasion, I would like to say to my Sikh constituents and friends back in my riding of Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, and indeed to Sikhs around the world, happy Baisakhi and happy Khalsa Day.

National Volunteer Week
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Sylvie Boucher Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Mr. Speaker, National Volunteer Week is our opportunity to acknowledge the men and women who give of their time to try to bring some improvement to our lives.

At times when it seems nothing is going right, they are there to comfort us. Through a handshake, an embrace, a smile or simply a sympathetic ear, they give us hope.

During this week when we celebrate those who give of themselves, we must remember that volunteering is a career in itself. These volunteers work with the most vulnerable members of society, provide much needed assistance to the very ill, help men, women and children in need, and take care of our seniors. Their selfless efforts deserve our admiration.

I would like to thank them for making change happen. Happy National Volunteer Week.

Poland
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Gerard Kennedy Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to offer my deepest condolences to the Polish nation for the tragic and sudden passing of President Lech Kaczynski, his wife Maria and 94 members of Poland's civilian and military leadership.

It is barely possible to comprehend that there could be another Polish tragedy associated with a place called Katyn. I say that particularly mindful of the Canadian families of the original victims of the Katyn massacre 70 years ago that remember it every year at the monument in my riding.

It is too early to say what the tragic plane crash of April 10 will mean for Poland. It is not too early to speak about the courage that it took to keep the idea of Poland and the truth of Katyn alive over the years, including by Polonia here in Canada. It was done despite much indifference internationally and in the face of brutal regimes. Nor is it too early to recognize that the incredible perseverance of the Polish people has built a strong, stable democratic country, which Canadians greatly admire.

As Poland mourns and recovers from this tragic event, Canada can and must continue to be a strong friend by officially recognizing the original Katyn massacre and pressing for Russia and others to do the same. I invite members to join me in that commitment.

National Volunteer Week
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Dykstra St. Catharines, ON

Mr. Speaker, this week is National Volunteer Week, a time for us to recognize those within our communities who give of themselves to make our lives better.

In my constituency I would like to recognize Lorne and Helen Dueck for their work with the Ontario March of Dimes, Doug French for his work with the Child Advocacy Centre of Niagara and Dr. Julia Murray of Court Animal Hospital who has done extensive volunteer work to help lower the amount of stray cats in St. Catharines.

While volunteers have many faces and can play many roles, today I would like in particular to thank those Canadian seniors who volunteer. Whether they are raising funds, rallying behind important causes or providing much needed services to others, seniors in my constituency of St. Catharines play a key role. They are an inspiration to us all.

I hope everyone will join me this week in saying a sincere thanks to all our Canadian seniors who volunteer.

Guy Boucher
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, on Wednesday, April 7, Hamilton Bulldogs coach Guy Boucher was named outstanding coach of the year by the American Hockey League. This was his very first season as the Bulldogs' coach.

Mr. Boucher is a native of the Lower St. Lawrence, more specifically Notre-Dame-du-Lac. He is the second youngest coach in the American league and an inspiration to the young people in our region.

He has proven that with determination and an excellent work ethic, it is possible to achieve our goals and make our dreams come true.

This young coach is just beginning his career in the professional circuit and he is already considered a great teacher. His determination and passion for teaching younger people will surely earn him many more nominations and a bright future.

Again, my most sincere congratulations to Mr. Boucher.

Arts and Culture
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Greg Kerr West Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, last night Canada experienced the Juno Awards in St. John's, Newfoundland, where the best Canadian artistic talent was showcased. I would like to congratulate the talented nominees and winners of these prestigious awards.

Also this weekend, the Minister of Canadian Heritage announced renewed, stable, multi-year funding for the Canada Music Fund. This means over $79 million dollars of direct support for our Canadian artists so they can create and showcase their music to Canada and to the world.

Our government is giving more money to artists and more support to our creative economy than any government in history because we recognize the contribution of arts and culture to our society, our identity and our economy.

Just ask Heather Ostertag, president of FACTOR, who said that this government has “clearly demonstrated [its] commitment to Canadian culture, [which] will ensure that Canadian artists [continue] taking their music to the world”.