House of Commons Hansard #63 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was elected.

Topics

Justice
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Delta—Richmond East
B.C.

Conservative

Kerry-Lynne Findlay Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice

Mr. Speaker, it is truly a happy and good-news day for justice. I am happy to report that today Bill C-22, the government's legislation to make the reporting of child pornography by Internet service providers mandatory, has come into force.

Police forces across Canada make every effort to combat the creation and distribution of child pornography. They cannot eliminate online sexual exploitation by working alone. Our government is providing police with the tools they need. Our government makes it clear that we all have a role to play in protecting our children from this unspeakable--

Justice
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

The hon. parliamentary secretary is out of time.

The hon. member for Random--Burin--St. George's.

Fisheries and Oceans
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Foote Random—Burin—St. George's, NL

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans has said that the fishery in Newfoundland and Labrador is broken. Well, with the stroke of a pen he can help fix it. Sitting on his desk, waiting for his signature, are permits needed to fish sea cucumber for the Asian market.

Studies done by his department show that there is a healthy sea cucumber supply that can sustain a viable fishery in Newfoundland and Labrador. Will the minister stop procrastinating, sign these permits and agree to a commercial sea cucumber fishery for Newfoundland and Labrador?

Fisheries and Oceans
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission
B.C.

Conservative

Randy Kamp Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and for the Asia-Pacific Gateway

Mr. Speaker, I want to assure my colleague that Fisheries and Oceans Canada does support the emergence of a sustainable commercial sea cucumber fishery. Sustainability of the resource will be the primary consideration as we move forward on this. Economic prosperity, as well as current and potential markets, will also be considered. The department is committed to undertaking allocation decisions related to the new emerging fisheries policy. That is the direction in which we are going. We are taking this very carefully.

International Trade
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Anne Minh-Thu Quach Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, as part of the European Union free trade negotiations, talks have been under way since 2009 to get Canada to agree to extend patent protection for prescription drugs by at least three years, which would increase their price by close to $3 billion. An independent report published this summer and commissioned by the European Commission indicates that this agreement could have a negative impact on consumers of pharmaceutical products in Canada.

In light of this report, will the government finally protect the interests of Canadians and our health care system?

International Trade
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Abbotsford
B.C.

Conservative

Ed Fast Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway

Mr. Speaker, I would remind the member that this government always protects and advances Canada's interests during international negotiations. We will only enter into an agreement that is in the best interests of Canada. We continue to consult closely with Canadians, stakeholders, and provincial and territorial governments. The member opposite should not prejudge the outcome of these negotiations. She should know that this government will always stand up for the interests of Canadians. We will only sign an agreement that represents those interests.

Veterans
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

Dick Harris Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Mr. Speaker, on Christmas Day 70 years ago, the Allies had no choice but to surrender. During seventeen and a half days of heavy fighting, 290 Canadians were killed and 493 were wounded while trying to defend Hong Kong. Those who survived spent the duration of the war facing inhumane conditions in prisoner of war camps in Hong Kong and Japan. After 70 years, the Japanese government has now apologized to Canadian veterans.

Could the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs please comment on the importance of this apology?

Veterans
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Mississauga—Brampton South
Ontario

Conservative

Eve Adams Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to inform the House that earlier today, Canadian prisoners of war received an apology from the Government of Japan for the suffering they endured during World War II. For nearly four years, our prisoners of war endured systematic and continued abuse. They were frequently starved and they were forced into back-breaking labour. Of those who were able to return, many of them were disabled and many died prematurely.

This apology is an important step in reconciliation and healing. It recognizes the suffering of our prisoners of war while honouring their courage and sacrifice. I appreciate being allowed to share the story.

Housing
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Andrew Cash Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, 70,000 people are on a waiting list for affordable housing in Toronto alone. The government really does not get it. Low-income and middle-income Canadians right across the country are facing an affordable housing crisis. The government refuses to act, yet it could. It could work with New Democrats on a national affordable housing strategy but it does not.

Is building more prisons the only kind of housing program and strategy we are going to see from the government?

Housing
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we do believe that every Canadian deserves a warm, safe place to put his or her head at night. We have made unprecedented investments in affordable housing for Canadians. Some 14,000 projects are under way, through construction or renovation. None of these things would have happened if the situation had been left to the NDP. As usual, although the NDP talks a good line, it votes against helping those who really need it.

International Trade
Oral Questions

December 8th, 2011 / 3 p.m.

Bloc

André Bellavance Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, through leaks we have learned details on the negotiation of the Canada-European Union free trade agreement, such as the discussions about the supply management system that the Conservative government deliberately left on the table, the price of drugs and the protection of culture. Since these matters particularly affect Quebeckers, they would like to be informed of the content and the potential impacts of the negotiations.

Will the government finally be open with Parliament and Canadians and stop negotiating behind closed doors?

International Trade
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Abbotsford
B.C.

Conservative

Ed Fast Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway

Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned earlier, this government has consulted broadly across the country on the EU free trade agreement, and we continue to consult. I want to assure the member that this government will only sign an agreement that is in the best interests of Canadians.

In fact, these consultations have been the most broad and most effective consultations we have ever had. We have had the provinces at the table. We have consulted broadly with stakeholders. All the feedback we are getting is that we are doing it right.

International Trade
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

That concludes question period for today.

I understand there is an agreement between the parties to have some brief statements at this time regarding the Parliamentary Librarian's upcoming retirement.

I therefore recognize the hon. member for Ottawa—Orléans.

Parliamentary Librarian
Oral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

Royal Galipeau Ottawa—Orléans, ON

Mr. Speaker, today we honour the seventh Parliamentary Librarian.

William Young, Bill to most of us, is the incarnation of quiet wisdom.

As co-chair of the Standing Joint Committee on the Library of Parliament, I had the pleasure of working closely with Bill, as we tried to come up with innovative ways to promote the programs and services the library offers to parliamentarians.

It was as a plain member of Parliament that I met him 2,146 days ago to offer my support and to thank him for the above-the-call professionalism of his dedicated staff.

Many members know that I spend a considerable amount of time in the library. I have a deep appreciation for the vital and trusted work that the library staff provides to support my insatiable curiosity as a legislator and as a servant. I most certainly appreciate that this library does not charge fines for late books.

For some reason that I do not quite understand, particularly since we are all such nice people, I have been told that reporting to a parliamentary committee is not always a bowl of cherries. While I may doubt that statement, I will acknowledge that the last couple of years have brought their challenges as we have dealt with successive minority parliaments and the reality of a global recession, and the fiscal restraint measures that have gone along with it.

Bill always managed to overcome these challenges with ease, grace and humour. This definitely made our committee work much more enjoyable. I am sure that his management team, and all Library of Parliament employees for that matter, really appreciate his style.

Style notwithstanding, he and his team have also delivered on their promises. Each year our committee has seen measurable progress on the broad-based plan of renewal that Bill initiated when he took over the role of Parliamentary Librarian six years ago. These are things that, by and large, may go unnoticed by other parliamentarians, such as the extensive managerial reforms that have taken place to ensure modern controllership and innovation in services.

Pass(e)port is a selection of articles about Canada or current issues of interest to parliamentarians. The articles are gathered from online international news sources every week. It was developed in committee by my friend and colleague, the hon. member for Ottawa—Vanier, in order to better connect parliamentarians to the rest of the world.

Given that Bill devoted most of his career to Parliament, I do not think it would be an exaggeration to say that much of the Library of Parliament's effectiveness today can be attributed to Bill.

The former prime minister, the Right Hon. Paul Martin, was inspired when he appointed Bill as Parliamentary Librarian. The current Prime Minister displayed his legendary wisdom when he extended that appointment.

Last summer I undertook to read Bill's doctoral thesis, but it took me a week to read the title, “Making the Truth Graphic: The Canadian Government's Home-Front Information Structure and Programs During World War II”. I will finish reading the thesis in time for the book report.

In conclusion, I would like to say a few words to Bill's prospective successors and give them a bit of perspective about working at the Library of Parliament.

Since Confederation, we have had 43 leaders of the opposition, 35 speakers, 22 prime ministers, 18 members for the district that I represent, and 12 clerks of the House of Commons. Against all this, the Library of Parliament is a model of stability. We have had only seven Parliamentary Librarians. They get to keep their job. On average, they have each served two decades.

As many of you know, I count every day that I am here. This is to ensure that every day counts. Psalm 90:12 says, “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom”.

And as we count our service here in days, parliamentary librarians count theirs in decades. William Shakespeare was right when he wrote, “The better part of valour is discretion”. William Young is blessed to live by those wise words.

In closing, on behalf of the Standing Joint Committee on the Library of Parliament and on behalf of every member of this House, I would like to commend Bill on all of his excellent work and extend our best wishes for his retirement.

On behalf of the Standing Joint Committee of the Library of Parliament, and on behalf of every member of this House, I want to close with a heartfelt bravo and our best wishes to Bill and to his family on his retirement.

Like that of his predecessor and my esteemed friend, Erik Spicer, may Bill's retirement be long, fruitful and filled with serenity and delight.

Parliamentary Librarian
Oral Questions

3:10 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise in the House today to pay tribute to Bill Young. I have had the pleasure to know Bill Young since 1997, when I was first elected as a new member of Parliament.

I first encountered Bill at the human resources committee where he served as an analyst. As the lone NDP member, I was trying to figure out how committees worked and what we were meant to do.

I had many chats with Bill and because of him, I came to appreciate what an amazing resource the Library of Parliament is, and also appreciate the role of the analysts. Their superb ability to help committee members and MPs generally in such a non-partisan way is something on which all of us rely.

His career at the Library of Parliament, where he also occupied the positions of principal and senior research officer, spans 18 years. Bill Young was also deputy team leader, Social Security Reform -- Coordination Group for Human Resources Development Canada, from 1994 to 1995.

As we know, he was appointed as the Parliamentary Librarian in 2005. I would like to read from when he appeared as a witness before the Standing Joint Committee on the Library of Parliament, because I think it gives us a flavour of his passion and his dedication. He said before that committee:

I'm very honoured to have my name go forward for the position of the Parliamentary Librarian, because for a political historian like I am, it's a job that brings both my passions and interests but also my training and experience. As I have mentioned, it's almost twenty years that I have worked with parliamentarians from all parties at the parliamentary research branch.

He went on to say:

For nearly 150 years, the Library of Parliament has been a shining light on our country's political and historical landscape. It is an architectural gem, a historical landmark and a unique institution that serves Parliament as well as the general public....While the library remains a repository of books and other printed information, it has moved into the technological era in its collections and reference services.Over 30 years ago it added a research and analysis function. During the past decade, it has been the public face of Parliament by providing information to citizens about how our Parliament works.

That is what Bill said to the standing joint committee.

As a trained historian, academic and then as a researcher, Bill has spent most of his career at the Library of Parliament. Shortly after he took the reins as the seventh Parliamentary Librarian in 2005, he set in place a broad-based plan for renewal of the institution to ensure that the library remained relevant for parliamentarians well into the 21st century.

Bill took on the big task of modernizing this honoured institution. This meant figuring out what it was that the users wanted and needed, and also how they wanted it to be delivered to them at a time when shifts to information technology and social networking seemed to be happening almost every day.

Bill has been with the library so long it is almost like he is part of the permanent collection. If he were a book in the library's collection, I think his staff would have a very difficult time deciding where to store him. He is certainly rare and valuable, so they would want to keep him under lock and key, but I am also sure that many people would be constantly referencing him that the tendency would be to leave him on a table by the main doors, just to save time.

I do not think it is too much of a stretch to say that he is the reason the library remains relevant to parliamentarians today. Not only is it relevant, but it is vital to our work. On behalf of the NDP, we extend our heartfelt congratulations and thanks for his dedicated public service to us and all Canadians over so many years. We wish him all the best in his retirement.

I have just one word of caution. We do not want him to watch CPAC too often. We do not want him to worry about committee reports anymore. Because of his stellar work, we know it is all being left in good hands. I extend our congratulations to Bill.