House of Commons Hansard #61 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was fair.

Topics

Motions in Amendment
Fair Representation Act
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Justin Trudeau Papineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the intervention from the member for Winnipeg Centre who always gives us a passionate speech in defence of our country and a reflection of where we go forward from here.

However, as the official opposition, as a party that is proposing that it is ready to govern this country, when the Conservatives put forward a proposal to give 30 more seats, we have given zero more seats in this House.

I would like the straight-shooter from Winnipeg Centre to please tell us exactly how many more seats would the NDP plan add to this House of Commons?

Motions in Amendment
Fair Representation Act
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, we have put forward a private member's bill, after much thought and consultation with the constituent groups that form the official opposition, that would put in place a framework and a foundation that would underpin the consultation that would lead to the answer to the question that my colleague has put.

The difference between us and the Conservative Party in this matter is that it is important for us to get the fundamentals in place and build from the foundation up in a consultative approach instead of a prescriptive approach. We are proposing a consultative approach.

Motions in Amendment
Fair Representation Act
Government Orders

2 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have been hearing from the Conservatives that because there is a need to reflect the suburbs better that is, to some extent, to the democratic deficit in this country. What they do not talk about is the inability of many Canadians to actually see their elected representatives because they represent ridings that are so huge.

For example, in my riding, it costs over $1,000 to fly from Attawapiskat to Timmins just to meet with the elected representative.

Why does the member think that the larger issue of the diversity of this country is being ignored by the government that is focused solely on the suburbs?

Motions in Amendment
Fair Representation Act
Government Orders

2 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is true that we should be careful not to take too simplistic an approach toward representation in this country. It is not as simple as taking the population and simply dividing it and getting the number of seats. We have never been that way in this country.

A number of elements and factors need to be considered before the design of this chamber is agreed upon. P.E.I. and northern Canada have been used as examples. Providing reasonable representation is not as simple and straightforward as the Conservatives would have us believe.

Government of Canada
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Kevin Sorenson Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, as the Christmas break approaches, my constituents in Crowfoot and I want to commend our Prime Minister for providing Canada with a strong, stable, national majority Conservative government.

Faced with the challenges in the current global economy, our Conservative government remains focused on providing Canadians with jobs and growing Canada's economy. In the third quarter of this year, Canada's economy grew by 3.5%. This is an amazing achievement and a performance level envied by many nations around the world facing massive budgetary deficits and crushing public debt.

We have provided marketing freedom for farmers and decriminalized responsible law-abiding gun owners by scrapping the failed and costly long gun registry. As well, our changes to Canada's criminal law have targeted violent and repeat offenders and sex offenders preying on children.

Canadians put their trust in this government, and we are fulfilling the promises we made during the election campaign.

I wish everyone a merry Christmas and a happy New Year, and many more promises fulfilled in the new year.

Violence Against Women
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Olivia Chow Trinity—Spadina, ON

Mr. Speaker, today on December 6 we remember the tragic massacre of 14 young women in Montreal 22 years ago. One lone gunman with a lethal weapon could not contain his anger against women. Canadians mourned and vowed to work for change.

Jack Layton and others spoke out against men's violence against women and co-founded the white ribbon campaign, now supported by millions in 55 countries. They and the families of the 14 young women fought for gun control. Marc Lepine's weapon is listed on the long gun registry, which the Conservatives now tragically aim to destroy.

The government should strengthen gun control rather than eliminate it, so that we can all stand in this House on December 6 and say, “Never again”.

Today, December 6, let us all stand together and say: never again.

White Point Lodge
Statements By Members

December 6th, 2011 / 2 p.m.

Conservative

Gerald Keddy South Shore—St. Margaret's, NS

Mr. Speaker, last week I had the honour of presenting White Point Lodge with the Tourism Industry Association of Canada Award for Excellence in Human Resources Development. This award is presented to a business that has clearly demonstrated a commitment to professionalism in the tourism workforce

This award held a special significance for all of White Point's management and staff because their main lodge was completely destroyed in a devastating fire on November 12 of this year.

Located on Nova Scotia's beautiful South Shore, White Point is Nova Scotia's favourite year-round, oceanfront beach vacation destination. With ISO 9001 certification, White Point provides an extensive human resources program that includes student scholarships and placements, professional development, staff recognition and support of local tourism industry initiatives.

To Danny and all the staff at the White Point Lodge, congratulations on the prestigious award and on the plans to rebuild.

Firearms Registry
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro York West, ON

Mr. Speaker, it was 22 years ago when a deeply disturbed man burst into Montreal's École Polytechnique with a legally obtained Ruger Mini-14 rifle and savagely shot 28 people. In the days that followed, we learned that these students were targeted for one simple reason: they were women.

The incoming Liberal government at that time took action to help protect Canadians by launching a new firearms licensing and registration system that took aim at the criminal misuse of firearms. The system included mental health, spousal and criminal background checks, and, for the first time in history, the law required all Canadians with a gun to have a permit.

I am proud to support the Liberal firearms package and on this National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, I call upon the Conservatives to end their efforts to turn back the clock by repealing the firearms registry.

Violence against women is never acceptable anywhere at any time. I believe it can be stopped, but only if we work together.

Mayor of Pitt Meadows
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Randy Kamp Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to Don MacLean, a man who has served the community of Pitt Meadows in public life for the past 21 years.

Mayor MacLean is retiring from politics today, having served the city of Pitt Meadows for nine years as a councillor and 12 years as mayor. He has attended countless community events and represented his city on many boards and committees in metro Vancouver. In an exemplary way, he has overseen the steady growth and development of a strong and vibrant city, a city with natural beauty right outside our door.

It is quite an accomplishment for a man who was looking to purchase a house in another community, made a wrong turn on Harris Road, and never left.

On behalf of my constituents in Pitt Meadows, I want to thank Mayor MacLean and wish him all the best in his future endeavours. When Don and Diane stroll through MacLean Park, I hope he experiences the well-deserved personal satisfaction that comes from having served his community well.

Violence Against Women
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, Vancouver-based community activist Jennifer Allan has been travelling across Canada to raise awareness about discrimination and violence against sex workers. This is an issue that touches me closely in my riding in Vancouver East, especially on this National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.

Despite the ongoing missing women inquiry in British Columbia, sex workers in the Downtown Eastside continue to receive tragically little understanding and recognition. They continue to struggle with chronic poverty and are forced out of public view, leaving them vulnerable to violence.

Jen is calling on political leaders to take action to ensure the fundamental human rights of sex workers are no longer violated. Such action includes the creation of safe houses, reforming Canada's solicitation laws and improved training for police officers.

I call on members from all parties to confront the underlying prejudices that have prevented us for so long from addressing this issue. We have failed in our responsibility to protect one of the most marginalized groups in our society.

Senator Robert Carrall
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Dave MacKenzie Oxford, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to pay tribute to a local unsung hero, Senator Robert Carrall. Senator Carrall, originally from Ingersoll in my riding of Oxford, received his MD from McGill University in 1859. He used his medical talents as an assistant surgeon for the Union Army during the American Civil War. Upon his return to Canada in 1865, he continued working as a doctor and played an active part in the Cariboo gold rush. In 1868, he was elected to the Legislative Council of British Columbia and was one of three delegates who went to Ottawa to negotiate British Columbia's joining Confederation.

In 1871 he was summoned to the Senate of Canada and was a confidante to Sir John A. Macdonald. He supported the construction of the CP railroad and petitioned Parliament to pass a bill instating the holiday we now know as Canada Day, before dying at the age of 42.

Senator Carrall's story remained largely untold until recently, when Irene Crawford-Siano, of Woodstock, published her ninth book, entitled Senator Robert Carrall and Dominion Day.

We thank Senator Carrall for his inspiring work on behalf of Canadians and Irene for sharing his story.

Halifax Explosion of 1917
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Armstrong Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, NS

Mr. Speaker, in Halifax harbour 94 years ago today, the French munitions ship Mont Blanc struck the Norwegian vessel Imo. The resulting explosion was the largest non-nuclear man-made blast in the history of the world.

The blast caused a tsunami in Halifax harbour. It caused an air pressure wave that snapped trees, obliterated buildings and even twisted steel. It rattled the glass in the Truro hospital, 100 kilometres away.

Halifax was shattered by this blast. The devastation was unimaginable: 2,000 dead and 9,000 more wounded. Relief efforts were sent from all over, as far away as the city of Boston.

Halifax was shattered that day, but Halifax was not defeated. We will always remember the devastation that took place 94 years ago today. We will also always remember those who sent relief in her hour of need.

Violence Against Women
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, today as we mourn victims of violence at École Polytechnique, we also mourn the violence that permeates our society. Aboriginal women are among those who experience the keenest edge of this violence, which is rooted in colonization, assimilation and cultural genocide.

While we have recognized the great harm we have done to aboriginal women, there is still the lingering violence that manifests itself in the chronic lack of decent housing, educational opportunity and economic security.

This has been going on for generations. Aboriginal women themselves speak most eloquently to this. Ms. Marlene Pierre of the Robinson Superior Treaty Women's Council told parliamentarians, “Women are saying the same damn things we said 50 or 60 years ago. Why? What are you people doing that will have some meaningful impact?

The violence continues.

Religious Freedom
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Chungsen Leung Willowdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canada is a model on the world stage for respecting freedom of religion. In fact, one of our government's key re-election promises was to establish an office for religious freedom. However, religious freedom is not something that is enjoyed by all people around the world. One such case is in Vietnam, where FatherThadeus Nguyen Van Ly, a Roman Catholic priest, has been repeatedly arrested for peacefully criticizing the Vietnamese Communist government's stance on religion.

Father Ly was rearrested most recently in July of 2011. He was returned to prison despite having health problems, having suffered three strokes that caused paralysis of his right arm and leg.

Vietnamese Canadians across the country are deeply concerned about this undemocratic situation. This week I will have the privilege of tabling a petition from the community that will call on the Vietnamese Communist government to unconditionally release Father Ly from prison.

Tragedy at École Polytechnique
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Françoise Boivin Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, today is the 22nd anniversary of the tragedy at École Polytechnique. We honour the memory of the 14 women who lost their lives that day. This is not a time for partisanship, especially in a House where women hold 25% of the seats. However, ironically, the firearms registry is set to be scrapped and the data in it completely destroyed this year, adding to the pain of this tragedy.

The registry was initially created in response to what happened at École Polytechnique. Last week, in the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, I heard survivors of this tragedy advocating for the continuation of the registry. Their testimony was quite upsetting. But the Conservatives remained unmoved. How can a government that claims to care about victims behave this way? How can Conservative MPs look the opposition in the eye and say that public safety is important to them?

It is not too late. The Conservatives can still transfer the data to the provinces, as Quebec is asking them to do. I still hope they will make the right decision to honour the memory of the victims who died on December 6, 1989.