House of Commons Hansard #41 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was military.

Topics

Fairness for Military Families (Employment Insurance) Act
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton
Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Madam Speaker, it is a great honour to rise today not only to address the fairness for military families act, but also to speak a little about its origins in which I am honoured to have had a small part.

Some time ago I was knocking on doors in the southwest Ottawa village of Osgoode. On a doorstep there, I met a soldier, Major Duquette. He told me his personal story, having served Canada in the Middle East, in the Golan Heights. He left five days after the birth of his son, Jacob. His story illustrates the immense sacrifice and courage that families in the military make all the time. His wife later said that one of the things that got them through that year while he was serving Canada abroad was the fact that he would take parental leave under employment insurance when he returned to make up some of the lost time with the newborn he was missing out on as a result of his service to Canada overseas.

When he returned after serving nobly in theatre, he applied for his employment insurance. He would have been surprised not to receive it because after all, like all members of the armed forces, he paid premiums into the employment insurance system, just like everyone else. He was shocked to learn, however, that his time for receiving those benefits had expired during the period he was serving all of us overseas. He looked in the law and found that there was no exemption to capture the fact that soldiers may be away during the time that follows the birth of their children. There was an exception, as he learned, for criminals to put off their benefits until their prison sentences are complete, an irony that I felt was untenable. I committed to him that day that I would bring this problem to the Prime Minister and that we together would get it solved.

That is why I was very proud that our Minister of Human Resources tabled in the House of Commons a government bill designed to fix that inequity. I would like to congratulate all members in the House of Commons who have committed to support that very important remedy. This is a non-partisan issue. It is about our families. It is about our soldiers. It is about giving them back the benefits for which they have paid, which I think all members in the House would agree is the very least that we can do.

Madam Speaker, I know that you share the same passion for our soldiers and I hope that all members of all parties will share it as well and we can unify in this place and show Canadians that we really can work together in the best interests of this country in order to bring fairness to our employment insurance system. Fairness is what this bill is all about; in fact, fairness is in its name.

To conclude the first part of my speech today, I will thank Major Duquette for having brought this issue to the attention of Canada's Parliament so that we could act on behalf of all soldiers who find themselves in similar circumstances.

Fairness for Military Families (Employment Insurance) Act
Government Orders

2 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker Denise Savoie

The hon. member will continue his comments later.

Snowmobiling
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Greg Kerr West Nova, NS

Madam Speaker, I rise today to congratulate the Annapolis Valley Lake and Ridge Runners for receiving Canada's Snowmobile Club of the Year award.

This is a very exciting time for the Runners, as they were chosen as the winners of this prestigious award out of 743 snowmobile clubs across the country.

These organizations not only strive to promote and foster safe snowmobiling as a family winter recreation, but also aim to boost the local economy by growing their sport at home and encouraging snowmobilers from other areas to visit.

We were all very pleased when the Prime Minister came down to the valley last year to announce a $25 million investment in Canada's trail network as part of the economic action plan. As the Prime Minister stated, “These trail projects open up new opportunities for the tourism industry in Nova Scotia and Canada-wide”.

I once again would like to congratulate the Annapolis Valley Lake and Ridge Runners and wish them all the best in the future.

Canadian Red Cross
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Larry Bagnell Yukon, YT

Madam Speaker, I rise today in support of World Red Cross Red Crescent Day and Canadians like Al Alcock.

Al started his career in the field of logistics and administrative management with the Canadian Armed Forces at the age of 16. He served 16 years in Europe and locations in northern Canada and the Arctic. For the next 21 years, Al was a director of administration and purchasing with the Yukon government. He recently retired as the fire chief for his community volunteer fire department.

After hurricane Katrina, Al was the shelter coordinator for the Canadian Red Cross in Hammond, Louisiana, running three shelters and a staff of 69 Red Cross volunteers. Soon he will be off to Haiti to help those who have lost so much in order that they may regain their lives, their dignity and rebuild their communities.

The Canadian Red Cross responds to thousands of disasters every year in Canada and beyond. It trains millions of people per year in first aid and water safety, provides community health programs and education on issues ranging from humanitarian values and prevention of bullying, and other forms of abuse.

Today we all pay tribute to the 36,000 volunteers and 6,000 employees of the Canadian Red Cross.

Robert De Courcel
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

France Bonsant Compton—Stanstead, QC

Madam Speaker, the Eastern Townships are in mourning. Robert De Courcel, one of the leading figures in the townships' media and cultural scene, passed away on April 21 at the age of 70, succumbing to lung cancer.

An interviewer, columnist and journalist, Mr. De Courcel became known to young people of the 1960s through the show Le Cirque à Tonton, on which he played Tonton Bonbon. He was also the director of programming at the CHLT and CJRS radio stations, after which he returned to television and writing for print media. Robert “Ti-Bob” De Courcel was also known for his involvement in the Fondation du Centre hospitalier universitaire de Sherbrooke.

On behalf of the Bloc Québécois, I would like to offer my heartfelt condolences to his family. And, Mr. De Courcel, one last time, we thank him for all the good memories.

Multiple Sclerosis
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan Edmonton—Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Multiple Sclerosis Society and those suffering from MS are calling for greater government support for research, including the CIHR, on the cause and cure for this debilitating disease, and help for those with MS.

Why is this relevant to me as a member of Parliament for Edmonton—Strathcona? Alberta is the MS capital of the world at two to three times the national rate.

My sister died of MS. My cousin and many family friends bravely live with the disease.

I testified, along with a family doctor, before the Alberta Energy Board on the high rates at Lake Wabamun, home to the largest and growing density of coal fired power plants in the country.

Although the cause is unknown, only a small portion of funds for health research and living support are dedicated to MS. The society seeks federal support to establish a coordinated study of potentially related neurological diseases and $10 million for clinical research. It seeks adjusted employment and disability tax benefits to better reflect the character of this disease.

I implore the government to give these requests the support they deserve.

Multiple Sclerosis
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Patrick Brown Barrie, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to acknowledge May as being MS Awareness Month in Canada. The MS Society has worked tirelessly in the past fifty years to raise awareness about the devastating effects that MS has on its victims.

The MS Society has established itself as a leader in this cause with tens of thousands of volunteers dedicating their lives to not only helping with service programs, fundraising events and advocacy, but also to finding a cure for this disease, raising $10 million annually.

One local volunteer in my riding who has championed the cause of MS incredibly is Jeanette Elliott, who needs to be particularly commended. She has done everything from leading fundraising efforts to advancing policy change. She has also led the charge for income security and supportive housing for people affected by MS.

I would also like to pay tribute to renowned vascular surgeon, Dr. Sandy Macdonald, a Barrie resident who has invested his own time and funds toward new and emerging treatments of MS.

The dedication of the MS Society and its local chapter is an example of Canadian generosity, and I want to pay tribute to my constituents.

Firearms Registry
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro York West, ON

Mr. Speaker, why is the member for Ottawa West—Nepean ignoring our police officers? They support the life-saving gun registry, a vital tool to keep our families and our communities safe. So do the police chiefs, police boards, and the survivors of the École Polytechnique massacre.

Why is the member for Ottawa West—Nepean not listening? The registry is used more than 11,000 times every day and it costs less than the Conservatives' wasteful government advertising. It is strange to see the member for Ottawa West—Nepean being muzzled, but his constituents deserve better.

He should speak up for them and work with us to make the life-saving gun registry work for all Canadians. Vote for gun control, vote for community safety, and vote no on Bill C-391.

Canadian Red Cross
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Dean Allison Niagara West—Glanbrook, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of World Red Cross Red Crescent Day to pay tribute to Red Cross staff and volunteers across the country like Douglas Mole from Fonthill, Ontario in my riding of Niagara West—Glanbrook.

After serving for 28 years in the Canadian military, Mr. Mole joined the Red Cross movement in 2001 when he responded to the tragedy of September 11 in New York. Since then, he has used his skills as a logistics delegate to help people around the world, whether it be in conflict zones, responding to natural disasters, or distributing bed nets to fight malaria.

When he is home in Canada, Mr. Mole serves as a Red Cross emergency response volunteer in the Niagara region. His partner, Christiane Muir, is also a fellow Red Cross delegate.

The Red Cross responds to thousands of disasters every year, ranging from single house fires, to floods that disrupt entire regions of this country, to large-scale natural disasters like the earthquake in Haiti.

It is Canadians like Douglas Mole who make up the heart of this leading global humanitarian organization and today we salute them.

Firearms Registry
Statements By Members

May 6th, 2010 / 2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, is there any hope that the Conservatives will vote to maintain a life-saving tool if they do not even understand why people wanted it and how it came to be in the first place?

The member for Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup believes that there is no connection between the creation of the gun registry and the École Polytechnique tragedy that happened on December 6, 1989. He does not believe that the survivors had anything to do with the creation of the registry.

Either the Conservatives are oblivious or they are simply ignorant.

It is a fact that the bill to create the registry was passed at the urging of the Coalition for Gun Control, which came into being following the Polytechnique tragedy. Denying that direct link is just bad faith.

I hope that the survivors of the massacre who are here on the Hill today will be able to refresh the Conservative members' memory and that of the eight Liberals and 12 New Democrats who voted to get rid of the registry.

Bloc Québécois
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Steven Blaney Lévis—Bellechasse, QC

Mr. Speaker, I really have to wonder what the Bloc Québécois has done for Quebec in the party's 20 years here in the House of Commons, apart from sitting back when it is time to act, and constantly criticizing with nothing to show for it.

With the Conservative government in power, we recognize that the Québécois form a nation within a united Canada. We have concluded an important Canada-Quebec cultural agreement concerning UNESCO and we have made huge investments in Quebec infrastructures. But the Bloc Québécois voted against that. We are also providing farmers with support for supply management, and the list goes on.

On many occasions, Bloc members stay seated when our government proposes important initiatives for workers and families in Quebec.

From the Bloc leader on down through the ranks, the Bloc Québécois is no longer achieving anything for Quebec in Ottawa. It is the Conservatives who are working for Quebeckers.

Firearms Registry
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, a spectacular democratic rally is taking place today on the Hill. Members of associations of police officers, chiefs of police and police boards; female students and graduates of the École Polytechnique; and representatives of shelters for women who are victims of spousal violence are rallying on the Hill to call on members to save the gun registry.

Quebec, its families and its police officers want to save the registry, but the Conservatives from Quebec want to scrap it, against the will of their constituents. This is no doubt because they do not know what they are talking about, just like the member for Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, who said yesterday that the gun registry and gun control had nothing to do with the killings at the École Polytechnique. The hon. member should take another look at the history of Quebec, and the NDP members should as well.

How can they stand the fact that their party is responsible for scrapping the registry? I urge all members to vote for gun control and safety in our communities.

Firearms Registry
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Bruce Stanton Simcoe North, ON

Mr. Speaker, last November 12 NDP members of Parliament stood in the House, did the right thing, and voted to scrap the wasteful and ineffective long gun registry at second reading. However, they have another important decision to make.

Bill C-391 is now in front of the public safety committee. I am sure the constituents of those 12 New Democrat MPs would be interested to know that their leader and the NDP justice critic joined the Liberals and the Bloc in trying to force the committee to accept the witness list that was 85% in favour of keeping the registry. Thank goodness they did not get away with it.

We have a message for the NDP: no shifting or sliding when it comes to the committee, no shifting or sliding on scrapping the long gun registry.

The constituents of those 12 New Democrats know that they either vote to keep the long gun registry or vote to scrap it. It is just that simple.

Canadian Red Cross
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

John Rafferty Thunder Bay—Rainy River, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of World Red Cross Red Crescent Day to pay tribute to Canadian Red Cross volunteers and delegates, delegates like Danielle Levesque, a pediatric nurse originally from the small community of Saint-Joseph-de-Kent in New Brunswick.

She spent many weeks in Port-au-Prince helping the injured or, in many cases, children of injured or deceased parents with her skills in psychological support. When the emergency health needs were met, Danielle took part in a massive vaccination program to stave off disease in many of the tent camps that had formed around Port-au-Prince.

Soon after she returned to Canada from Haiti, another earthquake devastated large parts of Chile. Once again, Danielle packed her bags and headed south to help those in need.

We must support the work of skilled emergency response delegates from across the country like Danielle Levesque. They represent Canada's goodwill and humanity to the world in times of devastating loss by providing relief, dignity and hope for recovery.

Ethics
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Chris Warkentin Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, this morning the Liberal chair of the ethics committee showed yet again the ethical bankruptcy of the Liberal Party, when it was revealed that he had a private conversation with the interim Information Commissioner about an ongoing investigation.

Is this how the Liberal Party respects the independent officers of Parliament? All members of the House should believe in respecting due process, all members should believe in respecting the independence of officers of Parliament.

No member of the House should be engaged in a private conversation with a legal authority about an ongoing investigation in the middle of that investigation.

Yet, the member for Mississauga South threw due process and respect for the independent authority of that officer completely out the window by attempting to influence, interfere or direct that independent officer of Parliament.

This is highly inappropriate, grossly unethical, and shows yet again why the Liberal Party cannot be trusted.