House of Commons Hansard #42 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was provinces.

Topics

Oral Questions
Points of Order
Oral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, this is the first time I have heard that talking about fruit is unparliamentary. I did not want to compare apples and oranges, so I chose to speak about blueberries and lemons instead.

Oral Questions
Points of Order
Oral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

I will take a look at the blues and get back to the House.

Oral Questions
Points of Order
Oral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Oral Questions
Points of Order
Oral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

The hon. Minister of Industry.

Oral Questions
Points of Order
Oral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Conservative

Christian Paradis Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Mr. Speaker, that was a very predictable answer. That is disappointing. My colleague knows full well that the term is used in a general sense to call someone useless.

Since he does not have the decency to at least apologize or withdraw his remarks, I would ask that you rule on this matter.

Oral Questions
Points of Order
Oral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would never intentionally or unintentionally call the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities useless. That would be unparliamentary.

Oral Questions
Points of Order
Oral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

I will examine it and get back to the House.

Government Response to Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:15 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)(b) I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to two petitions.

Government Response to Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I seek the consent of the House to table, in both official languages, documents from the office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer which show, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the budget line for the Perimeter Institute has increased by 1,270%.

Thus, my questions were appropriate and the accusations hurled at me were unfounded.

Government Response to Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

Does the hon. member have the unanimous consent of the House to table this document?

Government Response to Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

No

Political Loans Accountability Act
Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Edmonton—Sherwood Park
Alberta

Conservative

Tim Uppal Minister of State (Democratic Reform)

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-21, An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act (accountability with respect to political loans).

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

Veterans
Routine Proceedings

November 2nd, 2011 / 3:15 p.m.

Lévis—Bellechasse
Québec

Conservative

Steven Blaney Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, “How will you remember?” “Comment vous souviendrez-vous?”

I am moved as I rise in the House today to inaugurate Veterans' Week. I would like to thank my colleagues in this Parliament, whether they are practised politicians or new recruits swept in by the popular tide, for taking the time to pay the most important national tribute, our tribute to those resting in eternal peace for the glory of our country and to those who have sacrificed so much for us.

I am of Irish descent and over the generations my ancestors became a part of French Canada. Therefore, I share Quebec's particular view of the world. It is from this perspective that I look at the world and consider the stories of the great wars and the epic battles that I have learned about. Especially as a member of Parliament, and now as a minister, I have come to realize the extent of the sacrifice made by these men and women whose fate was tragic and heroic, but who are too often ignored or forgotten.

The encounters I have had over the last six months, often in places steeped in history, have proven to be profoundly moving. From Cabaret Rouge, in France, where I paid tribute at the place where the remains of the Unknown Soldier were once buried, to the spectacular Canadian National Vimy Memorial, where more than 11,000 names are engraved, it is impossible not to think about the enormous loss of life and sacrifice.

Looking at the interminable rows of headstones, which seemed to extend forever, I came to a better understanding of the human drama behind each one, each soldier, each family, each story, each hard-hit community, and also of the history of our country.

At first, the colonists of New France and the British fought as enemies on the Plains of Abraham, but they later united to fight for the common cause of peace and freedom. The two founding nations, along with aboriginal peoples and newcomers, fought side by side at Châteauguay, for example, during the War of 1812, at the capture of the unconquerable Vimy Ridge in 1917, or on the beaches of Normandy on June 6, 1944, where the valiant militia of the Régiment de La Chaudière—from Beauce—and members of the Queen's Own Rifles from Toronto joined together to drive back the Nazi invaders and liberate France.

It was this sacrifice by people of many origins that made Canada what it is today, a strong nation that is the envy of the world. The sacrifices of these soldiers have united our country. We are what we are today because of the sacrifices of these men and women who went to their eternal rest, sometimes far away in Europe and other distant places, and who transformed our nation. Some of our soldiers also returned transformed, with injuries to their souls that burdened them until their last breaths.

It is this blood, spilled in the off lands—European battlefields such as Beaumont-Hamel, where 800 Newfoundlanders faced enemy fire, or Korea, Cyprus, Bosnia and, more recently, Afghanistan—that define who we are. As citizens and parliamentarians, we have a responsibility to rediscover these sometimes tragic exploits in order to better understand where we are going as individuals, as a people and as a nation.

Let us recognize today that we are indebted to them for every vote we hold here in this House, for our freedom and for our ability to shape the destiny of our country.

One does not need to travel all the way to Vimy in France to be a proud Canadian, but I wonder if there is anywhere else on earth where that pride could be felt more intensely than on the ridge overlooking the plain of Douai.

It is not necessary either to go back in time to see examples of dedication, courage and the gift of self. These values of bravery, valour and service transcend time, place and generations. I see it today.

Born in the aftermath of September 2001, where terrorists killed almost 3,000 innocent people, Canada's war on terror hit the ground in Afghanistan and has seen a decade of a strong involvement from large scale military operations to improvements in infrastructure, supporting the opening of schools for girls and providing humanitarian health. However, that came at a great cost as more than 150 Canadians have lost their lives to establish lasting peace.

Many of these men and women who serve our country without hesitation are coming back or returning from the Afghanistan mission. Individuals such as Sergeant Nielsen, who we have just recognized, are a symbol of bravery and perseverance.

On Canada Day, July 1, 2010, Sergeant Nielsen was hit by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan and was severely injured. He lost his two legs, but he stood up today in the House, which made us very proud.

I was privileged to meet with Sergeant Nielsen. What struck me most was his outlook on life. To him, he was simply doing his job. As members can imagine, I was sincerely impressed with Sergeant Nielsen's attitude and his willingness to move forward no matter what. He said to me, “You can lie down and let the world happen or you can get up and do something yourself”. Luckily for us Sergeant Nielsen has chosen the latter.

Mr. Nielsen and his comrades are with us today, his comrades who are supporting him and who are supportive of each other, and with whom I have had the privilege of having dinner. They serve our country with pride and conviction. They fought for peace, freedom, democracy and the rule of law.

We thank our men and women for what they are doing, as they continue to do every day to make the lives of the Afghan people better and therefore for us so we can live in a better world.

That is not all. As we conclude the month of women in the military, we also have remarkable women who wear the uniform and continue to do so today, remarkable individuals such as Brigadier General Sheila Hellstrom who was the first woman to earn the title and Lieutenant Colonel Shirley Robinson who has devoted her life to ensuring women have equal opportunities in the military.

Nellie McClung once said, "People must know the past to understand the present and face the future". These women paved the way for all women, not just those who wear the military uniform but all Canadian women, and this is an excellent example for the world.

There are still challenges. Veterans, such as Sergeant Roland Lawless, who is the vice-president of the Veterans Emergency Transition Services, know it too well. Sergeant Lawless devotes his time and efforts to assist our too many homeless veterans in finding the support they need. For this, he deserves our full acknowledgement.

Yesterday, we paid tribute to those who dedicate their lives to caring for and supporting our veterans. I refer to the families, of course, and the loved ones.

When an individual joins the Canadian Forces, he or she does so by choice. That choice takes a heavy toll on that person's family, whether it is being left alone while their loved one is deployed far away or whether it is trying to transition to civilian life after years of being a military family. All too often, it is the spouses and caregivers who are left to provide stability and balance at home. They bear a burden very few of us understand but they, too, deserve our recognition and respect.

As a nation, we have a duty to remember and honour the exploits of those who died defending our ideals. In Libya, we have again shown the world that we are determined not to allow a dictator massacre his people. This House of Commons is the symbol of our freedom and democracy. It is here that we make decisions on behalf of the nation and here that we make the lives of these people a priority in our country. Thousands of Canadians have paid the ultimate price for this freedom, wherever duty called them to serve.

As of last week, our country was tragically struck by the death of Sergeant Janick Gilbert and the departure of Master Corporal Byron Greff in Afghanistan.

Those who for their country gave their lives
Should hear the prayers of many at their grave.
Theirs is the most beautiful of all beautiful names.
Compared with them all glory is ephemeral,
And the voice of an entire people
Is like a mother's lullaby to them in their graves.

These are the words of Victor Hugo, which are found in the Canadian Merchant Navy Book of Remembrance.

In the coming days, let us feel humbled by the greatness of these fallen men and women, and of those who have served and are currently serving. Let each of us, as Parliamentarians, go to our communities, cities and towns and take the time to quietly reflect and thank them.

“In Flanders fields the poppies [still] blow...”. I would ask my colleagues how they will remember and I thank them for rightly doing so.

Lest we forget. Nous nous souviendrons d'eux.

Veterans
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister of Veterans Affairs for his kind words.

On November 11, we will gather at cenotaphs, Legion halls and army, navy and air force halls in communities right across this country from coast to coast to coast to pay special tribute to the over 118,000 men and women who will not be with us on that day, as they have made the ultimate sacrifice and are buried in over 70 countries around the world, and, as the media reported just recently, we have lost a few more.

These men and women sacrificed themselves for peace, freedom and democracy and for the liberation of the free world. We will also remember our troops who served in Afghanistan, Libya, Haiti and everywhere else.

Just like my father once said, when he met a Canadian soldier during the liberation of the Netherlands, they were looking up at Canadian service personnel and saying, “My God, what kind of country do they come from“. We live in heaven and most of us do not even know it.

The reality is that the men and women of the services and those in the RCMP gave us our democracy, gave us the country that we call home and gave us the country that we can proudly call number one in the world. We will never apologize for that. We truly have the best armed forces in the world. We also have the greatest veterans in the world. However, just as important, we also have the greatest family support for our veterans.

Yesterday, the veterans affairs committee went to the Canadian War Museum and we were given a very special gift, the gift of remembrance from one of our own here in the House of Commons, the hon. member for West Nova, whose great uncle, John Chipman Kerr, received the Silver Cross in the Battle of the Somme. We saw Mr. Kerr's photo done by A.Y. Jackson. We saw his Silver Cross medal and other medals donated by the family to the Canadian War Museum. We thank the member for West Nova for sharing his family history with all of us. It was very kind of him.

I could single out so many veterans and armed forces personnel but there is one that I would like to single out today. I would like to recognize a sad chapter in our military history.

In 1944, a bunch of Canadian airmen were shot down over Paris. Unfortunately, 26 of them were taken, against the Geneva Convention, to the Buchenwald concentration camp where they were not supposed to go. For quite a while, they were interrogated by the Gestapo. Those men not only showed bravery and courage in what they did but they survived.

There are only 4 of those 26 brave Canadian airmen who were in the Buchenwald camp and we are blessed and honoured to have one of them with us today. Mr. Ed Carter-Edwards of Smithville, Ontario, is with us today, as was recognized by the Speaker earlier. He has shown tremendous courage and bravery. It is his wish that the story of what he and his comrades went through is never forgotten. Just as important, there is no way Mr. Ed Carter-Edwards could have come back to Canada, lived a normal life and raised his family without the loving support of his wife of over 65 years, Lois, who is with him today. We thank her very much for that.

Ed Carter-Edwards and the many other veterans who are still with us from World War II and Korea are examples of the very best of Canada, the very best of what this country had to offer the world. When the world asked, we came calling. Our veterans sacrificed themselves. Those men and women volunteered.

Our aboriginal people were exempted from wars but they went anyway. They formed the greatest fighting force of all time. They showed the true spirit of the maple leaf. Unfortunately, many of them laid down their lives so that we can sit in the House of Commons and debate the issues of the day and look after our families and call Canada number one.

All of us in the House of Commons salute Ed Carter-Edwards and all the current service personnel, those who have served in the past, those who are serving today and the young cadets who will be serving in the future. We thank them and love them all. We cannot thank them enough for all the work they have done. God bless them.

Lest we forget.

Veterans
Routine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

Liberal

Sean Casey Charlottetown, PE

Mr. Speaker, I am truly honoured to speak on behalf of my leader and the Liberal Party of Canada as we honour our veterans today in the House of Commons. I want to say at the outset how profoundly I appreciate what veterans have done for Canada in the cause of peace around the world.

As I was preparing my thoughts for today, I was trying to imagine what it must have been like to have served during war. I wondered what it would have been like landing on Juno Beach, or pressing on through the night's skies over occupied Europe, or crossing the North Atlantic in a Corvette during winter wondering if a U-boat was lurking, or fighting at Vimy Ridge or any other Canadian battlefield from Kapyong to Kandahar.

I tried to imagine what it was like to come face to face with the enemy, ready to fight and yet, undoubtedly, worried, to be both brave and human at the same time. I wonder what it was like to be in a fox hole, homesick perhaps, thinking of family, a wife or a sweetheart, or to contemplate what it would have been like to lose a friend on the battlefield and the pain and sadness that would have inflicted on the heart and mind. These are not experiences I would wish to have in my life, but for hundreds of thousands of Canadians this is exactly what they confronted and endured. We, as a country, owe them so much for that.

War and tyranny are awful realities of human history and, sadly, they continue to exist today. Just as war and conflict are realities of the human experience, so are heroism and sacrifice. It is that sacrifice and heroism that brings us here today. None of us here wish to glorify war but we do commit to glorify the men and women who gave themselves for a cause that was greater than themselves.

I am reminded of the wonderful sentiment expressed by John Stuart Mill, who said:

War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feelings which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse.

A man who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.

That captures the essence of our brave veterans.

On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 2011, I urge all Canadians to observe a two minute wave of silence.

I will close with a story from my home province. Two young men, about the same age, were back on the Island for the summer. Each had recently encountered a life-altering experience. One of them had done an extended tour of duty in Afghanistan as a reservist and the other had just completed a rookie season as a defenceman with the Boston Bruins, capped off by winning the Stanley Cup. The hockey player said to the young soldier, “You're a hero”. The soldier looked at the Stanley Cup champion and said, “I'm a hero? You won the Stanley Cup”. The hockey player replied, “I wouldn't have died for it”.