House of Commons Hansard #53 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was artists.

Topics

Lapierre Island
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean
Québec

Conservative

Denis Lebel Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, of course, when it comes to assessing land values, there are jurisdictions here, too. Our government has always operated based on respect for the environmental value of all federal assets. We will focus on the things under federal jurisdiction.

Egypt
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

Ted Opitz Etobicoke Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the media has recently been reporting on clashes near Tahrir Square. Canadians are rightly concerned about the difficult transition from the Mubarak regime to a democratically elected and legitimate government of Egypt.

As the House knows, Canada has played a significant role in assisting the Arab spring, as well as supporting democratic aspirations of the people of northern Africa and the Middle East.

In this regard, I would ask the Minister of Foreign Affairs to please give the House an update on the Canadian government's reactions to these most troubling media reports.

Egypt
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I think I can speak for all members of the House that we are outraged when we see the violence in Tahrir Square when people are seeking to peacefully protest. We are outraged when we see Coptic Christians in Egypt being targeted and many being killed.

We are calling on all sides to work co-operatively toward the elections that are coming up this Monday and to ensure that democracy will outweigh the violence that we have seen in recent days.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, my question is a matter of federal jurisdiction. What the member for Madawaska—Restigouche said is insulting. In his opinion, workers in the Atlantic provinces want to work only the minimum 12 weeks required to obtain employment insurance benefits. He also said that workers should have to have a grade 12 education in order to be eligible for benefits. That is unacceptable.

Is the minister going to take the same stand with regard to the people in his riding who worked at the Irving sawmill, which closed in October, and tell those who do not have a grade 12 education that they are not entitled to benefits? Come on. Why does the minister want to penalize workers in the Atlantic provinces?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we want to help people find jobs. That is why we gave the provinces and territories funding for training and education through our economic action plan—so that unemployed workers can acquire the skills they need for the jobs of today and tomorrow. That is the best way to help these people. It is unfortunate that the NDP does not believe it.

The Environment
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, next week the United Nations negotiations under the Framework Convention on Climate Change will begin in Durban. Given that the Minister of the Environment has led us to understand that there will be no MPs travelling with him to Durban, I would like to pre-empt the usual Thursday question and ask the hon. government House leader if he plans to have a debate on climate change in the House before his colleague leaves next week.

The Environment
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

York—Simcoe
Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, we have no such plans right now.

Presence in Gallery
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

I would like to draw to the attention of hon. members the presence in the gallery of the Hon. Robert Henderson, Minister of Tourism and Culture in the Legislative Assembly of Prince Edward Island.

Presence in Gallery
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear!

Business of the House
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have noticed a disturbing trend developing around the Thursday question over the past several weeks. It is a trend that allows the government House leader to take advantage of a certain convention.

The hon. member on the government side is using the Thursday statement to create spin and rhetoric concerning the government's legislative agenda.

Last week, even after my colleague from Laurier—Sainte-Marie reminded the House that there was no place for debate in the Thursday statement, the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons made a 600-word speech on the virtues of the schedule, instead of simply reading out the schedule.

That is what he is supposed to be doing. In fact, he argued in favour of a number of bills, including Bills C-18, C-13 and others.

If you review the record, Mr. Speaker, there can be no doubt that it was debate, not simply providing information, as the Thursday question is supposed be for.

Also, Mr. Speaker, you will know as well as anyone else that this past week, the government voted to shut down healthy debate for the 10th time in this Parliament. It continues to undermine Canadian democratic principles by ramming bills through the House without adequate debate. This, too, is a radical and much more serious departure from the traditions of this place which enshrine the duty of MPs to exam and debate legislation comprehensively before passing judgment on it.

I would ask the government House leader what the business of the House will be for the next week. I would also ask, if he is allowed to stray from his talking points, if he perhaps could spare us the spin from the Conservative war room and curtail his own debate rather than that of MPs trying to do their jobs on behalf of all Canadians.

Business of the House
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

York—Simcoe
Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, this is delivering results on jobs week.

I will begin by noting that the highlight of the week was the passage of the budget implementation act, Bill C-13, keeping Canada's economy and jobs growing act. That legislation has now moved on to the other place where we look forward to its passage.

We have also advanced Bill C-18, the marketing freedom for grain farmers act, past report stage. This bill would give marketing choice to western grain farmers, so it is a priority for us to have market certainty and have it passed by next year. For that reason, it is our intention to complete third reading of the bill on Monday.

Of course, Tuesday afternoon and again this morning, the House has continued debate on the opposition amendment to decline second reading of Bill C-11, An Act to amend the Copyright Act. We will continue that debate this afternoon. If the opposition finishes their effort to block this bill—after 16 hours of speeches—we will proceed to Bill C-14, Improving Trade Within Canada Act.

Tomorrow will be the sixth allotted day.

On Monday, we will start here for law-abiding Canadians week.

On Tuesday, we will start the post-committee stages of Bill C-10, the safe streets and communities act. This will continue on Wednesday. I note that it was reported back from the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights this morning. I do want to thank the members of the committee on their 27 hours of meetings in just the past couple of weeks. All told, including the nine predecessor bills within this legislation, we have seen 95 hours of House debate, 261 speeches in both chambers of Parliament, not to mention 70 meetings in committee rooms of this place.

On Thursday, we will continue here for law-abiding Canadians week with the start of debate on second reading of Bill C-26, the citizen's arrest and self-defence act, which the Attorney General introduced recently. Should time permit after that debate next week, we will return to debate the opposition's motion to block Bill C-4, the human smuggling bill, from going to committee. We hope we will be able to complete the debate on the opposition's motion to prevent that bill from going to committee soon so that we may actually have it go to committee.

Finally, as part of this week’s delivering results on jobs week, on behalf of my honourable friend, the Minister of Finance, I am pleased to table a ways and means motion in support of the establishment of a financial literacy leader for Canada. As honourable members would know, November is Financial Literacy Month; an issue championed by the hon. member for Edmonton—Leduc, the chair of the finance committee.

Pursuant to Standing Order 83(2), I ask that an order of the day be designated for the consideration of this motion. For the benefit of the House, I plan to call this motion immediately after question period on Tuesday of next week.

Disturbance in Gallery
Points of Order
Oral Questions

November 24th, 2011 / 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, I rise today on a point of order to draw attention to the disturbing incident that occurred in the gallery yesterday afternoon during votes.

I think members on all sides of the House are well aware that protests are a part of parliamentary life. In fact, during the summer months in particular it seems there is a protest on the front lawn of Parliament almost every day. However, those protests, invariably, are peaceful and they are outside. Yesterday, the protest occurred inside the House and it was far from peaceful.

Many people who are listening to this may wonder how this could this occur, how could a protestor get inside Parliament.

The answer is quite simple. The protestor was sponsored and, in this case, he was sponsored by the member for Churchill. This is unfortunate because it is a continuing pattern. It seems that the member for Churchill has been involved in incidents like this before. Mr. Speaker, you will remember that just last year there was a handful of protestors who staged a sit-in in the offices of the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development. During that sit-in, the members of the protest group disrupted the activities of the office of the minister and intimidated his staff. That sit-in occurred only moments after those protestors left the offices of the member for Churchill with whom they had a meeting earlier.

When the protest occurred yesterday, one of the most distasteful elements of that protest was that it appeared quite apparent to all of us that the member for Churchill and her opposition colleagues knew that the protest was going to take place because they had their cameras ready and they were cheering and encouraging the protestor when he started to try to make his statements.

Members in this place are expected to uphold the dignity of and respect the institution in which they serve. However, by their very actions yesterday, members of the opposition who were applauding and encouraging the protestor actually diminished this institution and for that they all should be ashamed.

However, it does not stop there. When security guards approached the protestor yesterday afternoon, the protestor engaged them in what can best be described as a wrestling match, thereby putting the safety of the security forces at risk. During that tussle, that wrestling match, members of the opposition, not all but many, continued to applaud and cheer and actually egg on the protestor, thereby even further jeopardizing the safety of our security forces.

Mr. Speaker, I can assure you of one thing. On this side of the House, no member of the government would ever encourage or condone the actions of any individual who would put the health and safety of our security forces at risk.

I simply ask that the member for Churchill, at her first opportunity, stand in her place and apologize to the fine men and women of our security forces for putting their security in jeopardy and to apologize to this House for disrespecting the very institution in which they serve.

Disturbance in Gallery
Points of Order
Oral Questions

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have spoken with the member for Churchill about the incident and I am absolutely certain about the following facts.

She did give passes to at least eight people for the members' gallery west. This is a common practice for all members when we are welcoming visitors to the parliamentary buildings. She had no knowledge that a single person within the group to whom she gave a pass would misbehave in any way. Like most members, she believes that people are generally nice and well-behaved, and the government has no evidence of any foreknowledge because such foreknowledge does not exist.

The member for Churchill is no more responsible for the behaviour of the person in the gallery than the Speaker of the Senate was responsible for the protest from the Senate page which took place during the Speech from the Throne. Interestingly, the government has yet to bring forward that debate. Just because someone helps people to be in their place does not imply any knowledge of their plans.

The member for Churchill regrets the disruption in the gallery. None of us condone it. We are pleased with the actions taken by our security services.

Mr. Speaker, should you find that this behaviour constitutes a prima facie case of privilege, she will be happy to address the chamber on the frustrations that all Canadians feel stemming from the anti-democratic approaches the government takes to governing. How people react to a government that h denies debate on public policy is certainly worthy of debate in this chamber.

Disturbance in Gallery
Points of Order
Oral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, I rise on the same point of order.

I sat here and watched the demonstration. In fact, I will admit that I stood up and applauded. Civil disobedience is a part of democracy but I do agree that it should not have happened in this chamber.

However, I spoke to the group in a meeting before and after the incident and I can assure the House that of the eight individuals, seven of them did not even know that the incident was going to take place.

The government member basically said that there was a wrestling match. I watched it and there was no wrestling match in the gallery, none at all. The individual--

Disturbance in Gallery
Points of Order
Oral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!