House of Commons Hansard #128 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was park.

Topics

Opposition Motion—Forillon Park
Business of Supply
Government Orders

1:40 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Chambly—Borduas, QC

Madam Speaker, I have a short question for the hon. member for Parkdale—High Park.

We remember the operation conducted in the old days to get rid of Eskimo dogs. This was a rather revolting practice in the north, which I think everyone condemns today. We also see what happened in Forillon. Out of respect for those involved, has the hon. member thought of a way to ensure that such a thing does not happen again? Is there a way to ensure that such a situation never occurs again?

Opposition Motion—Forillon Park
Business of Supply
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

Gerard Kennedy Parkdale—High Park, ON

Madam Speaker, I talked about developing a sustainable development philosophy, which is something that the members of our party share. Increasing respect for nature is now part of our Canadian identity. We can take such an approach. For example, we are contemplating the idea of recognizing the value of nature in our national accounts. We should recognize that there are always benefits related to nature, wildlife and the environment. Moreover, there must be a core reason for dealing with the issue, correcting it immediately and recognizing the value of our choice.

I hope there is a way to change the whole way we approach these problems. I hope a shift in philosophy will not be restricted to any one party but that it can be shared by all around sustainable development. Things like natural capital and so on are concepts other countries are adopting. We need to admit our mistakes, pay for them in real time and then we become a better society because of it.

Opposition Motion—Forillon Park
Business of Supply
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Chambly—Borduas, QC

Madam Speaker, I would first like to advise you that I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Joliette, who will be also be speaking on the same subject.

Allow me also to congratulate our colleague on his exceptional work, the work that he has done to allow us to have this debate for an entire day. We are trying in some small way not to correct the injustice, but at least to honour the people who had to suffer that injustice and to offer them an apology. May the apology come from those responsible, the Government of Canada.

I would also like to offer special thanks once more to the hon. member for Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine for his work on the Wilbert Coffin case, clearly another injustice—at least, work is being done on it—but most of all for the work he is doing for the marine industry, for fishers and for his riding. I am making that aside—something I rarely do—because there are members from all parties in this House who do exceptional work, and today, I would like to draw attention to the work done by the hon. member for Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine.

That work has made it possible for us to debate his motion today, and I am going to read it for the benefit of those who are watching. The motion moved by the hon. member for Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine reads as follows:

That this House issue an official apology to the people whose properties were expropriated to create Forillon Park for the unconscionable manner in which they were treated, and that the Speaker of the House send the representatives of the people whose properties were expropriated and of their descendants an official copy of the Journals of the House of Commons indicating the adoption of this motion.

My Liberal colleague previously made the point well: this does not correct the injustice, but, out of respect for the people who suffered it, it allows this House to express regret for what happened. It also allows those who represent it through our civic activities to demonstrate the regret officially, as we are preparing to do. I join my Liberal colleague in his wish: it is essential that the Conservatives vote for the motion as well.

It is more than a symbol. It is the expression of a will to demonstrate than an injustice occurred. The only way to do so with no political colours staining our gesture today is for the Conservatives to vote with us, with the opposition parties.

My colleague rightly said that we must not needlessly recall the past, but often the past sets us back in a particular context. It is a mark of respect that we owe the victims.

It all happened in 1970, but the process was set in motion in 1963. In 1969, there was an agreement involving the government at the time, headed by Mr. Trudeau. And Mr. Chrétien was the spokesperson on the issue for the Canadian government. So Mr. Chrétien came to an agreement with his Quebec counterpart in the Union nationale, Gabriel Loubier. There was already one major dissenting voice in the National Assembly at the time, and that was Marcel Masse. He felt that this was something that was unacceptable. He saw it and he pointed it out.

I found our colleague’s comments about the past interesting, when he spoke a bit earlier: if this were to happen again today, there would be the same concerns as there were then.

At the time, however, nothing was done to put a stop to this initiative, which is why it is so important to go beyond regret and apology. What will we do in the future to prevent such a thing from happening again?

For the benefit of the people watching, I will summarize the brief that the Forillon expropriated persons commemoration committee submitted last April to the environment minister at the time, Jim Prentice. In 1970, under Mr. Trudeau’s government, over 1,500 families were expropriated, and 225 families lost their property. The expropriated properties were burned by the federal authorities, and in some cases the owners were hired and forced by the government to personally burn their own property, which they had built through their own hard work.

Many of us come from small communities, often rural communities, and our home is where we belong. It situates us in life, and for a family, it is the secure foundation that allows us to develop and build our lives. Suddenly these people were told that they no longer had their home and that if they did not want to burn their house, they would be forced to do so. Then, gradually, their telephone service was cut off, then the electricity. They were prevented from going to fetch the wood on their farm for heating. That is what happened.

We have an obligation to remember such a thing. It was terrible for the people and their descendants to have to go through that. Parents at the time were powerless, and unable to provide this security for their family. The children and grandchildren were witnesses to this. Today they are 60 or 70 years of age, and they have carried this with them all their lives. Out of a sense of obligation they have told their children and grandchildren about this, as any self-respecting people would do.

A great Quebec poet, Gilles Vigneault, once asked what fruit can grow when one does not know the tree from which one descends.

We all have the duty to pass on where we are from, who we are and what we have experienced. Some will say that this is over. But no, it is not over. They cannot even go back there, to their homes, their property that was turned into a park, without having to pay to go and honour their ancestors.

One woman told me that to go and pray at the graves of her husband, her family and her two children, she had to pay. But it was their land.

To this day, these people are feeling the after-effects. To this day, these people are living with this memory, this trauma that will live on, and rightly so, given that we have this responsibility to pass on who we are.

Today, we are talking about a gesture that is symbolic to us, but very important to them. We must tell them that we know what happened to them. We know what that decision was rooted in, and we must make sure that it does not happen again. We are particularly aware of the impact that it had on them and we are apologizing to them for it.

And it is the motion from the member for Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine that is urging us to do it. Let us not miss this opportunity. Our Conservative friends from Quebec who are the same age as us lived through it. The whole of Quebec remembers. It was far away from where I lived, because I was on the other side of Quebec, in Abitibi. Even though it happened in the Gaspé, I can almost tell you the entire story because Quebec's consciousness was awakened by this abuse of the people of Forillon.

Today, I think that our colleagues, particularly the Conservatives from Quebec, are duty-bound to raise the awareness of their colleagues from the other provinces about the situation and to vote with us so that we can finally tell the people of Forillon that we are sorry, that we ask their forgiveness and that we are going to make sure that this does not happen again.

Opposition Motion—Forillon Park
Business of Supply
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Pablo Rodriguez Honoré-Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, I listened with great interest. My congratulations to the hon. member for Chambly—Borduas. The number of injustices was outrageous. There was the expropriation itself, and then the people had to fight in court until 1975 to assert their rights. There is also the fact that, for years, for decades, they had to pay to go into the park to be able to mourn their loved ones. It is a series of injustices that we are acknowledging in a way today. We cannot fix the mistakes of the past, but at least we are extending an olive branch. We are formally telling them that we are sorry and that we are asking their forgiveness. With this motion, not only are we apologizing, but we are also saying that we want to make sure this will not happen again. Once again, all parties here in the House should unanimously vote in favour of a motion like this.

So does the hon. member have a final point to make to the Conservatives so that it can be unanimous?

Opposition Motion—Forillon Park
Business of Supply
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, I greatly appreciate the comment made by the hon. member for Honoré-Mercier, and I thank him. There can never be a final point on this. There is only one, and that is the importance of rectifying an injustice. Someone who does not see an injustice in what happened cannot understand how painful this was for the people who lived through it. That is why I call on the Conservative members from Quebec in particular, because for the most part they are the same age as us and lived through that. They cannot remain insensitive to this situation today, and they certainly cannot miss the opportunity to help remedy this injustice in some small way.

Opposition Motion—Forillon Park
Business of Supply
Government Orders

2 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

It being 2 p.m., we will now move on to statements by members. If needed, the hon. member for Chambly—Borduas will still have three minutes for questions and comments.

Canada Winter Games
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Casson Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, on this coming weekend in 1975 the Canada Winter Games Sportsplex in Lethbridge was the venue for the opening ceremonies for that year's Canada Winter Games.

This Sunday, 35 years later, the Winter Games will kick off in Halifax. Teams from across Canada will descend on Halifax to continue this great Canadian tradition. Alberta will send one of its largest teams ever with 337 participants from 49 communities, competing in 20 different sports.

I would like to congratulate the athletes and coaches heading to Halifax from Lethbridge and southern Alberta: Don Cowan, coach and Holly Henderson, manager for figure skating; Tim Cooney, manager for speed skating; and the athletes: Ryan Chenoweth, hockey; Jazlyn Tabachniuk, figure skating; Paul Cooney, speed skating; and Taylor Evans, judo.

They, along with all the athletes, will do their best, showcase their skills, and use good sportsmanship as their guide to success.

The 1975 Winter Games left great memories and a lasting legacy in southern Alberta and I am sure the 2011 games will do the same in Halifax.

Black History Month
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise to commemorate this special and inspiring celebration, Black History Month in Canada, a time when we recall the long march of African Canadians for freedom and human dignity, and the singular contribution and legacy of African Canadians to the building of a plural Canadian identity and a diverse Canadian mosaic.

This year's Black History Month honours the efforts of people of African descent to abolish slavery, and begin the long march toward equality and liberty. It calls upon us to study and reflect upon the value of their contribution to our nation.

In remembering and reaffirming the historic contribution of the African Canadian community, we affirm the building of a plural Canadian culture, one in which, in the words of Martin Luther King, people will not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character.

Luc Plamondon
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Roger Pomerleau Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, the organizers of the seventh annual Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame Gala have now released the prestigious list of artist inductees. Included on this list is one of Quebec’s most prolific authors and lyricists, Luc Plamondon.

Such is the reputation of Mr. Plamondon in the cultural community of Quebec and la Francophonie that some have no hesitation in labeling him one of our most influential and creative musicians.

He has been writing lyrics for many of the greatest artists of Quebec and French song since the 1970s, and their works are forevermore part of our cultural heritage. He is also the creator of the famous rock operas Starmania and Notre-Dame-de-Paris.

Luc Plamondon is certainly one of Quebec's greatest ambassadors and one of the staunchest proponents of our language and culture.

My Bloc Québécois colleagues and I are proud of his success and we congratulate him on this new honour.

Sustainable Communities
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Denise Savoie Victoria, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to announce that my city of Victoria has been named the most sustainable small city in Canada, the same week as we host municipal leaders from across the country at FCM's sustainable communities conference.

From the world-leading Dockside Green development to our sea to sky greenbelt, Victoria is demonstrating political will and creativity to achieve a sustainable economy, and to fight climate change at the same time.

Expanding public transit, including light rail along the Douglas corridor to the western communities, is a key strategy in our vision. But municipalities cannot do it alone. That is why we New Democrats devised a national transit strategy that would get the federal government to step up and support local efforts like ours, so that soon Canadian municipalities and cities will be the most sustainable in the world.

Wine Industry
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Ron Cannan Kelowna—Lake Country, BC

Mr. Speaker, tomorrow our federal Minister of Agriculture will meet with his provincial and territorial counterparts to talk about an important issue, interprovincial trade barriers.

Last November, I placed on the order paper Motion No. 601, which supports direct to consumer purchasing of Canadian wine.

Greater access to Canadian wine is a direct benefit to our agriculture community and to the consumer. Smaller wineries across Canada have limited sales channels and the best opportunity for their growth lies in direct marketing strategies. Just ask the wine makers in my riding of Kelowna--Lake Country in the beautiful Okanagan or grassroots organizations like the Alliance of Canadian Wine Consumers that has created the website freemygrapes.ca.

I call on the respective provincial agriculture ministers to give direct to consumer purchasing their full consideration and support Canadian wine producers.

I thank members from both sides of the House who support this change and the member for Fleetwood—Port Kells, and her staff, who has also tabled a motion on this issue.

By working together, we can break down the barriers and support a vibrant Canadian wine industry.

Baker Lake Pond Hockey Tournament
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Jean-Claude D'Amours Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

Mr. Speaker, on February 4, I was lucky enough to take part in the official opening of the Baker Lake pond hockey tournament.

For the second year in a row, the pond hockey tournament wowed the residents of Baker Lake and the surrounding area with a total of 21 teams competing. The festivities were an opportunity for the residents of Baker Lake to enjoy the benefits of our Canadian winter. I would like to thank everyone who came out and took part in the event.

I would also like to take a moment to mention the remarkable work done by the organizing committee for this, the second annual ice hockey tournament. I would especially like to thank Danny Nadeau, the chair of the 2011 committee, for his unflagging perseverance and dedication. Your efforts to make this event a success are much appreciated.

Thank you for making the Baker Lake pond hockey tournament an all-round success. We will see you again in 2012.

Surrey, B.C.
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Dona Cadman Surrey North, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to draw your attention and that of my hon. colleagues to Surrey, British Columbia. We are now the 12th largest municipality in Canada and a port city as well.

In my riding of Surrey North, 27% of the population is of South Asian descent. Multiculturalism is a thriving success story in our community.

Surrey city council and our charming and forward-thinking mayor, Dianne Watts, are implementing a broad-reaching plan for a new downtown city core.

We have Simon Fraser University literally on the new city square. We are already cranking out exciting start-up companies like Nanotech Security and MAPT Media, a company whose product is so good it is being used on campuses everywhere.

I encourage all my fellow Canadians to keep an eye on Surrey.

Quebec Teacher Appreciation Week
Statements By Members

February 10th, 2011 / 2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Diane Bourgeois Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, again this year it is my honour to tell the House about Teacher Appreciation Week in Quebec. I am a veteran of the wonderful world of education, and I would like to reiterate my full support for the people who work in the amazing profession of teaching.

Every day, we entrust them with the things we hold most dear, our children. They pass on their knowledge and know-how to the generation of tomorrow. Teachers are examples for our youth, and we must tell them they are all indispensable. Our children are privileged that they can count on people like them, who give and expect nothing in return. Our teachers embody everything a nation like ours can hope for from our knowledge crafters.

On behalf of my colleagues in the Bloc Québécois, I want to congratulate the teachers of Quebec on their dedication and professionalism and thank them for all they do.

Jerome Jodoin
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Nepean—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in the House to pay tribute to a special constituent of mine and World War II veteran, Mr. Jerome “Jerry” Jodoin who, I note with great sadness, passed away this month at the age of 87.

In addition to being a decorated seaman, he was a husband and father and was well known for his tenacious spirit and his “diamond blue eyes”.

Notably, when five legionnaires decided to form the brand new Legion Branch 641, Jerry, then 81, jumped in with both feet. People would say that it could not be done, but he did it. He was a true comrade, friend and Canadian hero.

I stand here in Parliament to honour Jerome for his dedication to his family, his community and his country. Lest we forget, lest we forget.