House of Commons Hansard #47 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was question.

Topics

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

It being Wednesday, we will now have the singing of the national anthem led by the hon. member for Winnipeg North.

[Members sang the national anthem]

Parti Québécois
Statements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-François Fortin Haute-Gaspésie—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia, QC

Mr. Speaker, 35 years ago yesterday, on November 15, 1976, the Parti Québécois took power in Quebec's National Assembly for the first time. During its first mandate, René Lévesque's party accomplished great things, particularly in terms of farmland protection legislation, the Charter of the French Language, automobile insurance and political party financing legislation.

It was also during this first mandate that the first referendum on Quebec sovereignty took place. Today, 35 years later, the dream of making Quebec a country is more relevant than ever. As we face this backward-thinking government that rejects Quebec values, Quebeckers must realize that this is no longer our home and that it is time we built our own country.

On behalf of the Bloc Québécois, I want to commend the work accomplished by the Parti Québécois over the past 35 years.

Burlington Performing Arts Centre
Statements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Mike Wallace Burlington, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is my honour to congratulate and thank the Burlington residents who have contributed to a fantastic new addition to the city's cultural mosaic. In the next few weeks we will be officially opening the Burlington Performing Arts Centre. The dream of a performing arts centre facility began in 1999 and the vision has come to fruition.

I want to recognize all who have taken a leadership role in this project, have contributed financially and have provided support by volunteering their time.

I also want to thank our Conservative government for its support through the cultural spaces program. The financial support made the difference in kick-starting this vital cultural infrastructure project in our community.

The Burlington Performing Arts Centre will deliver experiences that inspire for many generations to come.

I want to thank all involved for their vision, their commitment, and their contribution in making this dream come true.

Litterless Lunch Challenge
Statements by Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Fin Donnelly New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to announce the winner of my second annual litterless lunch challenge.

This year over 50 classes from Baker Drive, F.W. Howay, Lord Baden-Powell, Moody, Ranch Park, Rochester and Maillard Middle schools participated in the challenge during Waste Reduction Week.

This year's winning class went an astounding 100% litter-free for the entire week. Congratulations to Ms. MacKay's kindergarten-grade 1 class students from Baker Drive Elementary in Coquitlam. They are this year's litterless lunch winners.

My sincere thanks go to all the students, teachers and parents who helped make this challenge such a success. They did a great job. Special thanks go to the Green Team at Maillard Middle, which coordinated the entire school's participation in the challenge.

Diabetes
Statements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Patrick Brown Barrie, ON

Mr. Speaker, November is National Diabetes Awareness Month. This past Monday we celebrated World Diabetes Day, marking the birthday of Sir Frederick Banting who, along with Dr. Charles Best, co-discovered insulin 90 years ago.

Nearly every Canadian is touched in some way by diabetes. Diabetes is expected to have a continued widespread impact on Canadians in the coming years.

More than three million Canadians live with some form of diabetes, and this number is increasing by 3% to 5% every year. The greatest rise is in children five to nine years of age.

Diabetes and its complications cost the Canadian economy more than $17.4 billion a year.

The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, JDRF, is the leading charitable funder and advocate of diabetes research in the world. It is working hard to find a cure for diabetes and its complications through the support of research.

I ask my colleagues in the House to join me in supporting JDRF and all diabetes agencies in having a very successful World Diabetes Month.

Human Rights
Statements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, today marks the 20th anniversary of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, one of the more effective United Nations bodies that has addressed and redressed individual cases of political prisoners who have been arbitrarily arrested, illegally detained and unjustly imprisoned in violation of international human rights law.

Indeed, the UN working group has issued important rulings in the illegal detention of Burmese opposition leader and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi, and helped secure her release, and in the illegal detention and imprisonment of Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Liu Xiaobo.

I am now petitioning the working group in the case of the arbitrary arrest, detention and imprisonment of Egyptian blogger Maikel Nabil, one of the first political prisoners of the post-Mubarak era, who is now entering his 86th day of a hunger strike. We urgently seek his release and the UN working group can help us in this regard.

Human Rights
Statements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Terence Young Oakville, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to bring to the attention of the House an ongoing human rights crisis: the mass killing of a vulnerable native people in the Congo.

Since the 1960s, the countries and rebel groups surrounding the Congo River basin have displayed utter contempt for the lives of pygmies. To put it simply, pygmies are under threat of eradication. We know this due to the courageous work of intrepid Canadian journalist Geoffrey Clarfield.

Pygmies have endured massacres, the raping of their women and even cannibalism at the hands of their oppressors. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, rebel factions ridicule the United Nations because it has no legal means of stopping their inhumane crimes, so the slaughter of pygmies continues. Since 2003, an estimated 70,000 pygmies have been killed by tribal militias under erase the board campaigns. The remaining population hides in remote areas of the surrounding forests for safety, yet they are still in danger.

I call on the international community to help stop the slaughter of pygmies.

Palliative and Compassionate Care
Statements by Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Mr. Speaker, almost two years ago a group of MPs from across party lines formed a non-partisan parliamentary group aimed at promoting awareness of deficiencies in Canada's palliative and compassionate care framework. The Parliamentary Committee on Palliative and Compassionate Care, which now has over 55 members and was co-chaired by me and the members for Kitchener—Conestoga and Guelph, conducted research and heard from Canadians throughout the country.

Tomorrow, November 17, the committee will release its landmark report outlining the findings and making recommendations on three main long-term health issues: palliative care, suicide prevention and elder abuse. Through our study we learned some troubling statistics. At least 10 Canadians die by suicide each day. Suicide is the leading cause of death among those between the ages of 10 and 24. We also discovered that only 16% to 30% of Canadians who need palliative care are able to access it. We also learned that as many as 10% of all seniors will experience some form of abuse in their lifetime.

I am proud of what the committee has accomplished in working across party lines to produce a substantial report that demonstrates that parliamentarians of all political stripes can work co-operatively for vulnerable Canadians.

Firearms Registry
Statements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Kevin Sorenson Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security heard testimony that the failed and costly long gun registry has no ability to prevent crime and there is no evidence that it has stopped a single crime or saved a single life. It does not prevent anyone from using a firearm for violence and it does not keep guns out of the hands of criminals.

A master instructor for the Canadian Firearms Safety Course testified that the registry misses the target of the criminal use of firearms. He said that instead, it targets millions of lawful, legitimate firearms owners.

The fact is the registry can do nothing to prevent criminals from obtaining or using firearms. Front-line police officers cannot risk their lives on the inaccurate, unverified information in the registry.

At the committee the Minister of Public Safety had to explain to the NDP that there is a difference between feeling safe and actually being safe. It is irresponsible to continue pouring tax dollars into the long gun registry because it feels like the right thing to do or the safe thing to do. The NDP proved again that it is unfit to lead.

Human Rights
Statements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Brian Storseth Westlock—St. Paul, AB

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to talk about my protecting freedom bill, an act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act which would repeal section 13. Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act erodes the fundamental building blocks upon which our society is built. These are not just the freedoms that every Canadian holds so dear, but also the freedoms that our society depends upon to grow and mature.

As George Washington described, “If freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led like sheep to the slaughter”. Freedom of speech is the bedrock upon which all other freedoms are built. Without the freedom of speech and expression, what good is the freedom of assembly or the freedom of religion? Freedom of speech is the only real tool that free and democratic societies have to fight bigotry and ignorance.

We must ensure that we protect and enhance our fundamental freedoms. This is not just an issue of blue or orange, left or right. This is an issue that affects all Canadians equally. I am asking all members to stand and support Bill C-304, my protecting freedom bill.

Occupy Protest Movement
Statements by Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Andrew Cash Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, protests are a vital part of our democracy. Citizens occupying public space are part of a proud tradition of non-violent civil disobedience. This is a practice that takes discipline, dedication and courage. It has been a constant presence in virtually all movements fighting for economic and social justice. Think about the civil rights movement led by Martin Luther King, the ending of apartheid in South Africa, the fall of the Berlin wall, the Arab spring. Embedded in these historic struggles for freedom and equality, acts of non-violent civil disobedience help nudge history in the right direction.

The occupy protests across Canada speak to the fact that something is fundamentally wrong when a few individuals and corporations control most of the wealth of nations. While some seek to trivialize and shut down the Toronto protests, at its core the occupy Toronto movement is a cry out for social justice, for greater democracy and an economic system that nurtures rather than distorts the true face of humanity.

Natural Resources
Statements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Joyce Bateman Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, the NDP opposes creating jobs and are attacking Canada abroad. The New Democrats are at it again today, undermining the Canadian economy. They claim that Canadian jobs will be driven away to the U.S. if the Keystone XL pipeline goes through. As we have consistently said, the Keystone pipeline will create thousands of jobs and billions in economic growth on both sides of the border.

We are encouraged that an agreement has been reached to find a new route for the pipeline. I hope this news will mean the project can proceed. However, the delay highlights the need for Canada to ensure it opens export markets outside the United States, into Asia in particular.

Canadians gave our Conservative government a strong mandate to stay focused on what matters to Canadians, jobs and economic growth. That is what we are doing.

McGill's Women in House Program
Statements by Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Mylène Freeman Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, today I rise to welcome to Parliament the students participating in McGill's women in house program. Women in house has the noble mandate to foster an interest in political involvement in young women with the goal of improving female representation in government.

The women in house program began in 2001 as an attempt to break down the barriers women face in politics. Tomorrow female MPs and senators will mentor the young women who are sitting in the gallery today. The participants will hear first hand from female politicians about the daily realities of political life. This program makes politics accessible to young women and has inspired past participants, including myself, profoundly.

As a student, I was a participant and a coordinator of women in house and it motivated me to push the boundaries of what it meant to be a politician. I hope participants will take away from this eye-opening experience the desire to get involved and break down the barriers women face in politics.

Direct Selling Industry
Statements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Joe Preston Elgin—Middlesex—London, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canada's direct selling industry injects over $4.5 billion in total sales into the Canadian marketplace and provides earning opportunities for 900,000 of our constituents, including many of my own in Elgin—Middlesex—London.

Direct selling builds sales, management and interpersonal skills. Many direct sellers will apply these skills to their careers, their households and other business ventures.

More than 90% of Canada's direct sellers are women, embracing their entrepreneurial spirit and benefiting from the flexible and convenient opportunities that direct selling provides.

This evening the Direct Sellers Association of Canada will celebrate the Year of the Entrepreneur at its annual parliamentary reception. I encourage all members to attend and meet some of Canada's leading direct sellers, their companies and to learn more about this dynamic and important industry.

The Environment
Statements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, this is an extraordinary moment for our planet. This month the world's seven billionth citizen was born into a population more aware than ever of the challenges of sustaining life on a crowded planet.

Between 1960 and 2000, the world's population doubled. During that same period, the world lost 25% of its land species, 28% of marine life and 29% of freshwater species. This is the fastest and greatest rate of biodiversity loss since the extinction of the dinosaurs.

People depend on nature for many things: a stable climate, clean air, fresh water, abundant food, tourism and incalculable economic benefits. To thrive as a species, we must work together to conserve nature.

I am honoured to chair the all party international conservation caucus, a non-partisan group with representation from all five parties. The ICC brings together scientists and environmental and conservation experts and provides them with a platform to present their research findings, to talk about conservation challenges and solutions and to help inform parliamentarians and others.

Together, we can make a difference.