House of Commons Hansard #61 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was colombia.

Topics

Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act
Government Orders

10:45 a.m.

Liberal

Martha Hall Findlay Willowdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his question.

I would like to say two things. First of all, I am proud to be a member of a party that brings together people with different opinions, a party in which we can have discussions in order to achieve consensus and one that is able to find common ground that we can support. In the end, we determined that it was better to adopt this position for Canada and for people elsewhere.

I would also like to say that the speeches given by my hon. colleague from Kings—Hants on human rights greatly helped convince other Liberals that, as a party, we can now support that position.

Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act
Government Orders

10:45 a.m.

NDP

Peter Julian Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, first, as far as the Conservatives are concerned on agricultural policy, after the vicious attacks on the Canadian Wheat Board, after the fact that Alberta has the lowest farm receipts in the entire country, and after putting supply management on the table in the Canada-E.U. negotiations, this party takes no lessons from the Conservatives on agricultural policy.

I would like to go back to the member now. The Conservatives' record is very clear. Alberta has the lowest farm receipts in the country. So, farmers are not being well-served by the current government.

I like the hon. member. I find her a little disingenuous, to say the least, on this particular issue. I know that she is not a member of the trade committee and has not been to Colombia. However, the reality is the Liberal Party systematically obstructed and refused to hear from the Canadian Labour Congress; refused to hear from the National Union of Provincial General Employees; refused to hear from the Public Service Alliance of Canada; refused to hear from the free and democratic labour unions in Colombia, where over 90% of Colombians who are workers and unionized are in that sector; refused to hear from African-Colombians; and refused to hear from aboriginal people in Colombia. It shut off all debate before the committee.

Two years ago, when we went down to Colombia, the trade committee came back with a unanimous recommendation to not proceed with this agreement. That is the one time when the trade committee did its job.

It did not do its job on Bill C-2 because of Liberal interference and Liberals refusing to hear from the groups that actively requested to come before the committee.

For the Liberals to say they are for human rights when they have accepted and in fact promoted closure, and cut off all of those important witnesses who wanted to come before the trade committee is disingenuous, at best.

I know that many activists have expressed this to Liberal members. The Liberal leader has simply said to all of the members within the Liberal Party caucus who have misgivings about this tragic turn of events with no human rights override at all in the Colombia trade deal, that the only thing the Colombian government is obliged to do is produce a whitewashed report on itself once a year.

My question for the member is very simple. Will her leader allow a free vote on the Colombia free trade agreement? Will her leader actually say that those many Liberal MPs who have expressed misgivings about this Liberal sellout on human rights will have the opportunity to vote on this agreement without being bludgeoned through a whipped vote here in the House?

Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act
Government Orders

10:50 a.m.

Liberal

Martha Hall Findlay Willowdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his initial kind words.

Despite the temptation to descend into a more personal approach, because I believe very strongly in our obligations here in this House to work together as much as possible with as much respect and civility without personal labels, I will say that in addressing the one issue about the trade committee's position on this issue I will repeat what I said in my answer to my other colleague from the Bloc Québécois.

We have been able, through the hard work and the excellent work of my colleague from Kings—Hants, to address significantly the fundamental concern that so many people have had with regard to human rights through the amendment, through the extra portion of this agreement on human rights, specifically. I am very proud of that fact. It was because of concerns raised by members of our own party, it was because of concerns raised by members of the public, that we were able to address those specific concerns. That is why, now, the Liberal Party is in a position to support this free trade agreement.

I want to commend all the colleagues who participated in that. I want to commend the colleagues on the opposite side of the House who appreciated the fact that that intervention, that amendment, that focus on human rights, was in fact what we needed to allow this to move forward. I would hope that my colleague would understand that we are at least trying to make progress.

Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act
Government Orders

10:50 a.m.

Bloc

Jean-Yves Laforest Saint-Maurice—Champlain, QC

Mr. Speaker, Bill C-2 is now at third reading, and I would like to begin by saying that I find this rather strange and even a bit anachronistic. I am very disappointed that we have gotten to this point.

Both in committee and in the House of Commons, we have seen the Conservative government use closure to put an end to extremely important, interesting and relevant debates, especially about respect for human rights, and to prevent witnesses, including Colombians, from testifying about what their lives are like. The issue of human rights affects them directly, yet the government is using procedural tactics to prevent them from talking to the committee and is putting an end to this debate to prevent witnesses from being heard.

Moreover, the member for Burnaby—New Westminster raised a question of privilege in the House about what happened in committee, where, with the Liberals' support, the government denied members access to the committee clerk to check some information.

So it is disappointing that this bill is at third reading today, especially since the government has imposed closure to put an end to this debate. With the issue of human rights a top priority, it is particularly significant that the government is using closure, seeing as how it is bound, bent and determined to do whatever it takes to implement an extremely controversial bill.

What the government is doing goes completely against the unanimous position of the Standing Committee on International Trade, which had unanimously recommended two years ago that the government wait before implementing this agreement, because the Colombian government's respect for human rights was highly questionable.

A number of people have still not had a chance to be heard to this day. Even though Colombia has one of the worst human rights records in Latin America, the Conservative government keeps on saying that Colombia's human rights situation has greatly improved.

In all honesty, the situation may not be as bad as it was a few years ago, but it certainly is not ideal or worth celebrating, as the Liberals and Conservatives are doing by implementing a free trade agreement with a country whose trade with Canada is quite insignificant compared to other countries.

Is trade the real reason the Conservative government is so eager to implement such a trade agreement with support from the Liberals?

It begs the question. We believe that the government is not trying to promote trade through this agreement. The government is instead trying to help Canadian mining companies exploit the natural resources of another country.

They want to go after the natural resources at the expense of human rights. I said earlier that Colombia has one of the worst human rights records. It is a country where the government tolerates extreme violence. I will continue after—

Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act
Government Orders

10:55 a.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Andrew Scheer

The hon. member will have 15 minutes following question period.

Larry John Rudd
Statements by Members

June 11th, 2010 / 10:55 a.m.

Conservative

Phil McColeman Brant, ON

Mr. Speaker, last week in Brantford, Ontario, big yellow ribbons and Canadian flags lined the streets as thousands of people came out to bid a final farewell to Trooper Larry John Rudd, who died on May 24 serving our country in Afghanistan.

Standing more than six foot six, Trooper Rudd was known among his comrades as a gentle giant. At his funeral he was described as a phenomenal soldier, friend and Canadian. Larry John Rudd is a true Canadian hero who will be dearly missed by his family, friends, fellow comrades and the communities of Brantford and Brant.

Trooper Rudd is one of 147 Canadian men and women who have given their lives serving their country in Afghanistan. On behalf of all Canadians, I salute these brave men and women. Their commitment and sacrifice will remain a source of pride for all.

Afghanistan
Statements by Members

11 a.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, this week parliamentarians and government ministers hosted one of the most courageous and compelling heroines of our day in the person of Dr. Massouda Jalal, distinguished physician, the former minister of women's affairs and the first woman to run for president of Afghanistan.

Dr. Jalal's testimony before the foreign affairs committee's Subcommittee on International Human Rights was clear: that we are witnessing in Afghanistan a regression from the initial progress at the beginning of this decade; that a developing extremism is driving a culture of fear amidst a culture of impugnity; that, in a word, the empowerment of women can underpin democracy and freedom and usher in a culture of peace. As Dr. Jalal herself put it:

Women's rights are the key to fighting dictatorship and extremism, militarization and warlordism. Women are the key to the future.

Dr. Jalal's courage and strength should inspire us all and underpin our mission in Afghanistan now and beyond 2011, the protection and empowerment of women, and thereby, the promotion and protection of democracy and freedom for all Afghans.

Mario Cusson Competition Team
Statements by Members

11 a.m.

Bloc

Jean Dorion Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, QC

Mr. Speaker, I was proud to learn that the Mario Cusson Competition Team from my riding recently distinguished itself at the Quebec provincial Golden Gloves boxing championship.

The team took first place as the most improved club and second place for number of wins.

I would like to congratulate the winning boxers: Charles Boismenu, Sarah Dasylva, Mélanie Carrier, Gino Colangelo, Mélanie Grenon, Martine Vallières-Bisson, Samuel Francisque, Parwiz Payman and David St-Pierre.

A big thank you to the team's head trainer, the president and former champion Alain Bosmenu, whose energy and dedication help young people excel at a competitive sport.

Good luck to Longueuil's Mario Cusson Competitive Team in the 2010 Quebec Cup, an international competition that will be held in Longueuil from June 24 to 27.

Bangladesh
Statements by Members

11 a.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, Bangladesh became a country after a war of independence that began about 40 years ago.

After many challenges in the early years, the restoration of democracy in 1991 gave hope to the people of Bangladesh for a better life for themselves and their children. That is why it is with grave concern and great sorrow that Canadians have learned of recent arrests of journalists, in particular Mahmudur Rahman. Hundreds of members of Canada's Bangladeshi community have written to me asking me to share their condemnation of these arrests.

As a sister Commonwealth country, Canada will always have a keen interest in what happens in Bangladesh. A vibrant and industrious Bangladeshi community that shares the values of democracy, freedom of expression and freedom of the press is asking the Canadian government to take note of these disquieting developments and to do whatever it can to avoid a slide back from those values.

FIFA World Cup
Statements by Members

11 a.m.

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai Calgary East, AB

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Government of Canada and all Canadians, I wish to extend our heartfelt best wishes to the people of South Africa as they host the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the very first on African soil.

I am confident that South Africa will stage a world-class tournament. The world again will have a chance to see the vibrancy, growing self-confidence and optimism that is emerging from the continent of Africa, the continent where I was born.

Over the 20 years since Nelson Mandela's release from prison, Canadians have watched with pride as South Africa has emerged to take an increasingly prominent place on the global stage. Hosting the World Cup is yet another world-class achievement by our great friend and ally.

Let us celebrate the friendship between our two countries and wish South Africa every success as it brings us the joy and excitement of the World Cup.

Dr. Jacques Corbin
Statements by Members

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Jean-Claude D'Amours Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to highlight the work of Dr. Jacques Corbin who, on May 28, was awarded the Dr. Garfield Moffatt Medal. This medal recognizes excellence of health care provided by a New Brunswick doctor.

It is awarded to an individual who demonstrates an interest in professional development in medicine, education of patients and health care team members, and leadership and service to his community, in addition to focusing on quality of family life.

We are proud that this medal has been awarded to one of our doctors. A native of Edmundston, Dr. Corbin has accomplished a great deal in the health field. He was awarded this medal—and has had a successful career—because of his belief that the patient always comes first.

Dr. Corbin, on behalf of the citizens of Madawaska—Restigouche, we congratulate him on this medal and, most of all, we thank him for everything he has done for our community. Once again, Dr. Corbin, congratulations on behalf of all the citizens of the riding of Madawaska—Restigouche.

Afghanistan
Statements by Members

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

Laurie Hawn Edmonton Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, after spending last week in Afghanistan, I rise today to pay tribute to the men and women of the Canadian Forces, the RCMP, members of the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Canadian International Development Agency, Canada Border Services Agency, Correctional Service Canada, and others who are doing tremendous work and are delivering results under very difficult circumstances.

I want to take this opportunity to remind all members of the House to appreciate the efforts and dedication of the members of our whole of government team who are doing a tremendous job and are making Canada proud in a difficult land on the far side of the world.

Our people are doing terrific work and are making a real difference in the lives of the Afghan people. Just the other night, a revered CBC sports commentator said that the one thing soldiers always say to him is that the message they want to put to politicians and the people is, hey, be more worried about them, the guys who do it, than the Taliban who are trying to blow them up.

Grapes gets it. Our government gets it. The Canadian people get it, and in the words of Don Cherry, I say amen to that.

Government Spending
Statements by Members

11:05 a.m.

Bloc

Robert Carrier Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, welcome to Harperland, built for the modest sum of $2 million in taxpayers' money. This fake resort comes complete with a fake lake—even though the location is on the shore of Lake Ontario—and some comfy lakeside chairs where you can watch bucolic scenes on a giant screen.

The goal is to recreate Huntsville, in the riding of the Minister of Industry, a place you will not actually be able to see during the G8 and G20 summits. To be able to visit these facilities, you must be an accredited journalist, because this marketing pavilion is for you, and only you—whom the Conservative government is hoping to manipulate with this propaganda, because you are certainly not there to report on the facts.

And what does the rest of the world think about this? Who cares if the French foreign affairs minister, Bernard Kouchner, thinks that Harperland is costing too much money? All the Conservative government wants is to control the message as much as possible, at the expense of access to information.

Afghanistan
Statements by Members

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

Mike Lake Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont, AB

Mr. Speaker, media reports indicate that recently, as part of their ongoing intimidation campaign in Afghanistan, Taliban insurgents systematically executed a seven-year-old boy they accused of being a spy. If these reports are true, it is horrific, disgusting, and shocking beyond words and says more about the Taliban and its disregard for human life than virtually anything we have seen or heard yet.

These are the people we are battling in Afghanistan. These are the people who are killing our brave Canadian men and women in uniform.

Canada's continuing objective is to help Afghans build a stable and secure country based on the fundamental values of democracy, human rights, and the rule of law.

Let us never forget who the real enemy is in Afghanistan, and may our courageous soldiers know that this government and all Canadians stand behind them every step of the way.

Beaconsfield
Statements by Members

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, this year marks the 100th anniversary of the City of Beaconsfield, a magnificent community on the shores of the St. Lawrence River in Montreal's West Island.

The year started with great pomp and circumstance when young Ben Mumme carried the Olympic flame to Centennial Park, where it lit up the crowd and the winter night in anticipation of future Canadian Olympic glory.

Last Friday I had the honour of riding in Beaconsfield's 100th anniversary parade with Mayor David Pollock; his council; MNA Geoffrey Kelley; former mayor Ed Briggs; former councillors Ernie Dahl and Jim Hasegawa; Beaconsfield's first mayor, Joseph Perron, personified by Christian Habel in 1910 period costume; Danièle Bouchard-Serhan, chair of the Beaconsfield 100 committee; Judith Clark, coordinator of the evening's celebration; and Michèle Janis, the city's irrepressible cultural director.

Beaconsfield is known for those values that make a community strong: citizen engagement, caring for others through volunteerism, respect for difference, and concern for the environment.

I would like to invite all of the members to join with me in wishing a very happy 100th anniversary to the City of Beaconsfield.