House of Commons Hansard #62 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was wineries.

Topics

Air India
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Provencher
Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, it is very clear that the tragic Air India incident is a reminder that Canada is not immune from terrorist acts.

In fact, our government responded very quickly to years of neglect in looking into the matter, and we are following the commissioner's recommendations. In respect to the ex gratia payments, we are taking appropriate steps to ensure that the recommendation is followed and to ensure that we administer taxpayers' money appropriately.

Kyoto Protocol
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, one by one the reasons given by the Conservatives to discredit the Kyoto protocol are proving to be nothing but diversions to conceal their poor performance on climate change. Now that developing countries say that they are ready to meet binding targets, the Minister of the Environment, who said that they were a vital requirement, is refusing outright to make a commitment, stating that this ideological decision was made some time ago.

Why is the government once again trying to sabotage environmental negotiations, if not to protect the big oil companies and Canada's appalling track record, which is worse than that of Russia, India, China and Brazil?

Kyoto Protocol
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North
Alberta

Conservative

Michelle Rempel Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I am not sure what my colleague opposite is referring to when he says that we have an appalling record when the International Institute for Sustainable Development says, and I quote:

...Canada is moving in the right direction on GHG policy.

and

...Canada's federal government is finally establishing the policy architecture to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

We are taking a leadership role. It is time that the opposition parties start acknowledging that and start being proud of the role that our country has in the international community with environmental stewardship.

Kyoto Protocol
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

That concludes question period for today.

The Chair has notice of a few points of order.

Oral Questions
Points of Order
Oral Questions

December 7th, 2011 / 3:05 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, very briefly, during question period, the member for Beaches—East York referred to the absence in this place of one of the members of the government.

I know that the member for Beaches—East York is new to this place. He may not be aware of the rules governing our members, but I believe he has been here long enough to understand that one is not to make mention of the absence or presence of any members in this place.

All I am looking for is some assurance that this will not occur again in the future.

Oral Questions
Points of Order
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Kellway Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, my comments were not meant to refer to the literal presence or absence of the minister here today. Rather, they were meant in a figurative sense.

Member for Lethbridge
Points of Order
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Bloc

André Bellavance Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday we commemorated the terrible massacre of 14 young women who were killed for anti-feminist reasons at École Polytechnique in Montreal 22 years ago. In the meantime, a video was being broadcast on the Internet and on television of the inappropriate and disgraceful gestures made by the hon. member for Lethbridge during a vote in the House on eliminating the firearms registry. He was making gun-shooting gestures with his hands. Not only has he not apologized in the House—and I do not believe he has apologized outside the House either—but in an article I found today in La Presse, he said it was just a subtle, little gesture. He is making a mockery of this and even says that his Conservative colleagues facing him were not offended.

I am asking the hon. member for Lethbridge to do the right thing and apologize for the gestures he made during the vote on November 1. Obviously in a democracy we are entitled to vote for or against abolishing the firearms registry. Everyone in the House respects that right. However, this is not about democracy, but about contempt. That type of gesture shows contempt for the victims, the victims' families and the House. I know that decorum is important to you, Mr. Speaker. We are not talking about subtle, little gestures. If the hon. member for Lethbridge refuses to apologize—and I will close on this—then someone from the Conservative government side should stand up, condemn those gestures and say that the hon. Conservative members and the Conservative government were indeed offended by the gestures made by the hon. member for Lethbridge. He should stand up and apologize.

Member for Lethbridge
Points of Order
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

Jim Hillyer Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, the video was released yesterday on the anniversary of the tragic events at the École Polytechnique, and that is what is tragic.

The vote occurred five weeks before and had absolutely nothing to do with these tragic events. The gesture was not made towards anyone; it was not even made towards the colleagues I faced in the Conservative Party. It has nothing to do with the victims of violence.

If ending the long gun registry was a victory for violence, then this would be an offensive gesture. It is not a victory for violence. The long gun registry was ineffective and targeted peaceful, law-abiding gun owners.

I am sorry not just that this has been misinterpreted but that it has been misrepresented as being associated with the tragic events at École Polytechnique 22 years ago. The vote was five weeks before the anniversary. I remain committed to improving the safety of all Canadians and ending violence towards women.

Member for Lethbridge
Points of Order
Oral Questions

3:10 p.m.

NDP

Françoise Boivin Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, I was really hoping that the member for Lethbridge would rise at least to apologize for his gesture. It is sad. True, it happened some weeks ago; however, the act is behind us.

When I got home yesterday, I had many messages from people across Canada who were offended by the gesture. This matter really got under people's skin, and we know what it stands for. It was definitely a very regrettable and very disrespectful gesture.

Mr. Speaker, I refer to the ruling you handed down yesterday concerning decorum in the House. When people vote, they are supposed to exercise restraint. They express their opinions through their vote and through their “yeas” or “nays”, but no one should be making any gestures that could be perceived as offensive. I am sorry, but imitating the firing of a handgun was definitely an offensive gesture. It is completely understandable that many people would misinterpret the gesture, which, unfortunately, has been seen around the world.

I would have liked my colleague to have the decency at least to let us believe that perhaps he had misunderstood something and to apologize to anyone who was offended. And, yes, people were definitely offended. The gestures were completely inappropriate and had no place in this House during a vote.

Member for Lethbridge
Points of Order
Oral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I might be able to suggest a solution to the problem.

Frankly, I was disappointed to hear what the hon. member for Lethbridge had to say. Every hon. member has been in a situation where he was not pleased with how people interpreted some event or something he did. However, it is clear that many people were shocked by the gestures made by the hon. member during the vote.

There is a simple solution to the problem. Mr. Speaker, you made a ruling yesterday, a ruling that all of us in the House accept. You clearly said that any demonstration made by hon. members during a vote is unacceptable.

The hon. member could simply acknowledge that he did not recognize the importance of the solemnity of the vote, that he regrets his actions and he fully accepts the Speaker's ruling. That is the choice that is before the hon. member. He cannot say that he has nothing to say when he clearly did things that go against the ruling made yesterday by the Speaker of the House. That is the solution I propose.

Member for Lethbridge
Points of Order
Oral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills
Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Minister of State and Chief Government Whip

Mr. Speaker, the member for Lethbridge has pointed out that the vote occurred weeks before yesterday when the video was shown. Somebody maliciously set the video up for yesterday. However, regardless, if people anywhere are offended by that action, I apologize.

Member for Lethbridge
Points of Order
Oral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

Jim Hillyer Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday you made a ruling on decorum during votes. It is true that I am new in the House. I have only been to about 100 votes or so. I have seen many members make different gestures while they vote. That was before the ruling.

You have made the ruling, Mr. Speaker, that we should not applaud during votes and I will accept that ruling. I will not be making gestures of any nature during votes, from this point on. I respect that. I think that the offence occurred because someone took this video in an inappropriate way and connected this gesture to the victims of violence. That is deeply regrettable. I—

Member for Lethbridge
Points of Order
Oral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Member for Lethbridge
Points of Order
Oral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

Order. We are going to let the member for Lethbridge finish his remarks.

Member for Lethbridge
Points of Order
Oral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

Jim Hillyer Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, if I had intended to offend victims of violence or anyone else, that would not only demand an apology but it would demand far more than just that. No offence was intended. No one who looks at the video and the timing of the video would think for a second that I intended any offence toward victims of violence. The people who caused the offence are the people who connected the video on the wrong day, and that is terrible.

I am sorry that I did not follow the ruling that you, Mr. Speaker, have made since then. I will not make gestures anymore. I have nothing but sympathy for victims of violence. I continue to remain committed to ending violence toward women and all Canadians.