House of Commons Hansard #50 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was forces.

Topics

Health
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Nunavut
Nunavut

Conservative

Leona Aglukkaq Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, we have established high standards to ensure that bottled water sold in Canada does not pose a health and safety risk to Canadians. These standards include requirements for microbiological quality, composition, and product labelling as well. We continue to work with CFIA to ensure the safety of bottled water sold in Canada, and will take any actions required should the health and safety of Canadians be at risk.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, the New York Times and UNICEF have added their voices to those Amnesty International and others to demand that Omar Khadr be treated as a child soldier.

Anthony Lake of UNICEF is even warning that the trial of Omar Khadr, who was arrested when he was 15, could set a dangerous international precedent for other child soldiers.

How can the government explain its stubbornness in ignoring treaties on the rights of children and refusing to repatriate Omar Khadr, the last westerner in Guantanamo?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Pontiac
Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, for the benefit of my colleague, I would like to remind members of the House that Mr. Khadr has been accused and the allegations against him include the tragic death of an American soldier. The American government is in charge of this file and the Americans will conduct the legal proceedings.

Presence in Gallery
Oral Questions

May 27th, 2010 / 3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

I would like to draw the attention of hon. members to the presence in the gallery of the Hon. Ken Cheveldayoff, Minister of Enterprise, Minister Responsible for SaskEnergy Incorporated and Minister Responsible for Trade of Saskatchewan.

Presence in Gallery
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear!

Business of the House
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I would first like to ask the government House leader about the government's intentions regarding the parliamentary agenda in the days going forward.

Second, does the government have any new information or policies that it wishes to announce similar to the policy the government House leader announced earlier this week, to the effect that it would no longer allow political staffers of ministers to appear before committees when duly called by committees in accordance with the ruling laid out by the Speaker not that long ago on the Afghan detainee documents and the supremacy of Parliament? I am wondering if the government has more surprises on the policy front with regard to government accountability to Parliament through its committees, and the supremacy of Parliament and its committees in requiring persons, including ministers and political staffers and public servants, to appear.

I wonder if the government House leader would also address the issue of one of his members who was invited to appear before the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs on a reference sent to it by the House of Commons regarding the breach of privilege of the member for Mount Royal and an NDP member by ten percenters sent into their ridings by a Conservative member. When the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs duly requested or invited that Conservative member to appear, the member declined to appear because, as a member of Parliament, under the rules of Parliament, he does not have to appear unless the House itself orders him to appear.

Business of the House
Oral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Prince George—Peace River
B.C.

Conservative

Jay Hill Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

My first question, Mr. Speaker, would be to the Chair.

I am just wondering whether I would have equal time with the member.

Business of the House
Oral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

A minister can have more; it depends how long his description of the business is going to be. We do not have time limits on this question or answer. The minister is well aware of that, I believe.

Business of the House
Oral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Conservative

Jay Hill Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am also well aware of the rules, and the rules for the Thursday question require a very succinct question about the upcoming agenda of the government, and the government House leader is supposed to be bound by those same rules as I understand them. On this side of the House at least, we always want to respect the rules of the House of Commons.

To be very brief in my response, I think I have answered that question repeatedly. We will not allow our political staff to be dragged before standing committees where the opposition coalition holds a majority of members and be subjected to the type of abuse we have seen. On behalf of those staff, I would point out that anyone who wants to research this issue can find it in the Hansard of the standing committees. Many of those meetings were televised. Members can see the type of abuse that opposition members of Parliament subjected those staff members to. Many of these staff members are very young people, oftentimes in their mid to late twenties. To be subjected to that type of abuse is completely shameful. It is intolerable and unacceptable. Our ministers will assume their responsibilities yet again and will be appearing at committees when there are questions to be asked of their departments and their staff. So I hope I have put that to rest.

On another issue I have raised a couple of times in question period, when it has come up, is the absolute hypocrisy of the Liberal Party in asking these types of questions of staff members and yet filibustering the government operations committee to prevent their own member of Parliament, the MP for Scarborough—Rouge River, from testifying and answering valid questions about his connection with a law firm that advertised on its website that the member could make “valuable contributions to [its] clients includ[ing] acting for foreign and offshore organizations in obtaining operating licenses, securing regulatory and governmental approvals for mergers and acquisitions, reviewing policies and conduct of Canadian Security Intelligence Services”—I repeat, “Security Intelligence Services”, Mr. Speaker—[and] advising bodies on international issues regarding cross border tax collection”. And it goes on and on about the services the member could provide in the form of lobbying. Yet the member was prevented from testifying today by the Liberal members on that committee, who wanted to filibuster.

This is a member of Parliament and it is the same standing committee that is supposedly looking into the alleged lobbying issues of a former member of Parliament, who has appeared at that committee and testified. At least he had the courage to do that, which is more than the member for Scarborough—Rouge River has done.

On the issue we are supposed to be discussing, the agenda looking forward to the next week of the House of Commons, today we will resume the debate on the report stage motions on Bill C-9, Jobs and Economic Growth Act. As we heard in question period, that is the much anticipated budget bill of the government.

This evening in committee of the whole, we will consider the estimates for the Department of National Defence.

Tomorrow will be an allotted day.

Next week, if necessary, we will continue the debate on Bill C-9, followed by debate on Bill C-23, Eliminating Pardons for Serious Crimes Act. We will have as backup bills, Bill C-10, Constitution Act, 2010 (Senate term limits) and Bill S-2, Protecting Victims From Sex Offenders Act.

As I mentioned in reply to the Thursday question last week, Monday, May 31 has been designated as the day to consider the main estimates of the Department of Natural Resources in committee of the whole.

Finally, Tuesday, June 1, shall be an allotted day.

Government Response to Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre
Saskatchewan

Conservative

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 six petitions.

Criminal Code
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin Acadie—Bathurst, NB

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-522, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and respecting the Motor Vehicle Safety Regulations (student transport).

Mr. Speaker, today I am pleased to introduce my Boys in Red bill. The purpose of the bill is to prohibit the transportation of students in vehicles commonly known as 15-passenger vans. This enactment also requires the Governor in Council to make certain amendments to the Motor Vehicle Safety Regulations to limit the sale, importation and inter-provincial shipment of 15-passenger vans that are configured to transport more than one passenger.

I named this the Boys in Red bill in memory of the seven members of the Bathurst High School basketball team and their adult chaperone, who were travelling in a 15-passenger van and lost their lives in a road accident near Bathurst, New Brunswick in January 2008.

At this time, I would like to recognize Isabelle Hains, the mother of one of the students, who is on the Hill to see this bill introduced. Her work, along with the work of Mrs. Kelly and Mrs. Acevedo, two other mothers who lost their sons in the tragic Bathurst accident, has helped to ban these 15-passenger vans in New Brunswick.

This continues on. In British Columbia, another young man lost his life. These vans have been abolished in the United States.

I hope that I will receive the support of members of the House for my bill.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Genetically Modified Organisms
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Alan Tonks York South—Weston, ON

Mr. Speaker, as members know, genetically modified organisms have been the subject of great controversy and concern, and this concern has led to this petition.

The petitioners ask that the House forward the petition on to the ministry of health in order for it to look at the toxic, allogenic and less nutritional aspects of GMO modified organisms. The petitioners state that GMO crops could damage vulnerable wild plants and animal populations and harm biodiversity and could have other adverse impacts on our environment.

The petitioners are asking for an independent inquiry on the safety of genetically modified organisms. They are also asking if the government has clear evidence to show that GMO food is not a risk to humans or the environment.

Some 60 petitioners from the greater Toronto area have signed this petition. They are asking that it be referred on to the ministry of health and that consideration be given to the concerns that arise from the petition.

Caffeinated Beverages
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions to present today. The first one, by dozens of Manitobans, is a call against Health Canada's authorization of caffeine in all soft drinks.

Health Canada announced on March 19, 2010, that beverage companies will now be allowed to add up to 75% of the caffeine allowed in the most highly caffeinated colas to all soft drinks.

Soft drinks have been designed and marketed toward children for generations. Canadians already have concerns over children drinking coffee and colas, and they acknowledge caffeine as an addictive stimulant. It is difficult enough for parents to control the amount of sugar, artificial sweeteners, and other additives that their children consume, including caffeine from colas.

Therefore, the petitioners call upon the Government of Canada to reverse Health Canada's new rule allowing caffeine in all soft drinks and not to follow the deregulation policies of the United States and other countries, and sacrifice the health of Canadian children and pregnant women.

Air Passengers' Bill of Rights
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, the second petition is also signed by dozens of Canadians and calls upon Parliament to adopt Canada's first air passenger bill of rights.

Only in the last six months Barack Obama and his transportation secretary, Ray LaHood, have rocketed ahead of Canada by penalizing airlines for $27,500 per passenger for tarmac delays of over three hours, and LaHood recently charged Southwest Airlines $120,000 for overbooked flights.

It is time that a Canadian air passengers' bill of rights is brought into this Parliament. The bill should cover Canadian carriers anywhere they fly in the world. The bill should provide for compensation for overbooked flights, cancelled flights and long tarmac delays. It should deal with late and misplaced baggage. It should require all-inclusive pricing by airlines in all their advertising.

Europe has had such laws now for over five years. A recent passenger recounted how much better treatment he received in Europe than in Canada, flying on the same Canadian airline.

The new rules have to be posted at airline counters, airline passengers have to be informed of their rights, and the process to file for compensation. If the airlines follow the rules, it will cost them nothing.

The petitioners call upon this government to introduce Canada's first air passengers' bill of rights.

Eliminating Pardons for Serious Crimes
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Conservative

Blake Richards Wild Rose, AB

Mr. Speaker, it gives me pleasure to rise once again to table a petition in regard to the ongoing requests that I am receiving from all across Canada from petitioners calling on changes to the pardons act. They are calling upon Parliament to prohibit the granting of pardons to convicted sexual offenders.

The government has already announced its intention to proceed with such changes, but petitions are continuing to pour in from all across the country because petitioners are concerned that the opposition will not choose to pass this. It will delay and stall the legislation, and they are very concerned about that.

I hope the opposition is listening. Thousands and thousands of Canadians from all across this country are calling upon just that.