House of Commons Hansard #123 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was information.

Topics

Motions in Amendment
Canada-Panama Free Trade Act
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

South Shore—St. Margaret's
Nova Scotia

Conservative

Gerald Keddy Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade

Madam Speaker, I appreciate my hon. colleague's input at the Standing Committee on International Trade. I disagree with his position on Panama, but I have a question on which we may be in agreement.

The issue is fairly simple. Canada and Panama are already trading substantially, hundreds of thousands of dollars, millions of dollars' worth of trade. How could it hurt to put clear rules around the trade that already exists and reduce tariffs and barriers for Canadian businesses? How could that hurt Canadians?

Motions in Amendment
Canada-Panama Free Trade Act
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Yves Laforest Saint-Maurice—Champlain, QC

Madam Speaker, in response to my colleague, I would say that we do not need a free trade agreement to define some clear rules. We could very easily start by creating a tax information exchange agreement and then negotiate a double taxation agreement, if necessary. We do not need to sign an agreement first.

The main problem now is that we are doing things backwards. When a country is recognized as a tax haven, we should sign a tax agreement before signing a free trade agreement. But that is not the case here.

Foreign Affairs
Statements by Members

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai Calgary East, AB

Madam Speaker, our government is concerned with the recent wave of executions in Iran. According to the UN High Commissioner of Human Rights, at least 66 people were executed in January 2011. Among those was the Dutch-Iranian, Zahra Bahrami, who was hanged before the legal process against her was completed.

We are particularly concerned about Saeed Malekpour, a prominent resident of Canada, who was condemned to death when the software he created was allegedly deemed to be offensive by the regime. Mr. Malekpour is but one of the many Iranians who face disproportionately harsh punishment for dubious offences.

This government will continue to hold Iran accountable for meeting its international and domestic human rights obligations, including fair treatment and due process to all those in its prisons and before its courts.

Entrepreneurs in the Kedgwick Area
Statements by Members

February 3rd, 2011 / 2 p.m.

Liberal

Jean-Claude D'Amours Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

Madam Speaker, on Saturday, January 29, I had the pleasure of attending the annual entrepreneur appreciation night organized by the Kedgwick Regional Chamber of Commerce.

The annual banquet is an opportunity to pay tribute to the region's entrepreneurial community. This year, the Kedgwick Regional Chamber of Commerce highlighted the work of four individuals. The honourees for 2010 were: business of the year—Michel Damphousse, Pharmacie Kedgwick; female entrepreneur—Rina Couturier, Cantine Yum Yum; volunteer of the year—Donald Gagnon; young volunteer—Kerry-Lyne Savoie.

I would like to take a moment to recognize the time and effort they have put into their own success and that of the community. Their leadership and drive make them remarkable people.

Once again, I offer my congratulations and say to them, the people of Madawaska—Restigouche are very proud of you.

Gaëtane Verna
Statements by Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Joliette, QC

Madam Speaker, La Presse recently focused on 15 people who are shaping Quebec's artistic landscape.

I am particularly proud to say that Gaëtane Verna, director and chief curator of Joliette's art museum, is included on that list. The article lists the many successes of this dynamic woman, including the publication of a guide to the museum's collection and her commitment to renovating the museum.

The day after this article was published, Ms. Verna used the opening of the first exhibit of 2011 to acknowledge the work of her team, without whom, she says, she never would have made it on the list.

Ms. Verna, who has headed this Lanaudière institution for five years, stated that an institution such as the one she runs would be nothing without the volunteers, the artists, the board of directors, the partners and, of course, the public.

My Bloc Québécois colleagues and I want to congratulate Ms. Verna and show our admiration for the high-calibre contribution she brings to the cultural life of Quebec.

The Internet
Statements by Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Olivia Chow Trinity—Spadina, ON

Madam Speaker, happy New Year of the Rabbit. I wish everyone good health and prosperity.

[Member spoke in Chinese]

[English]

During special occasions, family members who cannot be with each other rely on the Internet to connect, to be united. Whether it is through conversations on iChat or Skype, emailing pictures or messages and greetings, having Internet access helps keep families together.

Canadians want an Internet service that is fast and affordable. Instead of standing on the side of the major telecom companies that do nothing while Internet users get gouged everywhere they turn, we need a government to be on our side, a government that will say no to the cap imposed by the telecom giants on Internet services.

Canadians want choice, low prices and fair competition. I ask people to join our fight at OpenMedia.ca. Let us end all usage-based billing. Let us have an Internet service that puts consumers first.

The Budget
Statements by Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Leon Benoit Vegreville—Wainwright, AB

Madam Speaker, I sincerely want to thank constituents who attended my prebudget town hall meetings in January, including several mayors, reeves and municipal councillors. Their input into the budget process is both helpful and important.

Generally they were happy with the way the Prime Minister and our government have managed the economy. Most agree that our five-year deficit elimination plan is appropriate. They strongly support our justice agenda and are angry with the opposition parties for slowing progress in this regard. The overall message was clear: carry on as planned.

I sincerely want to thank all who attended. I want to let them know that I heard their message and that their message and the information they gave to me will in fact get to the finance minister to be considered in the prebudget process.

Taxation
Statements by Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Shawn Murphy Charlottetown, PE

Mr. Speaker, the irresponsible Conservative corporate tax cuts are compromising our country's ability to respond to the needs of families, seniors, Canadians living in poverty and post-secondary students, among others. These tax cuts are being financed with borrowed money and, as a result, will have to be paid for by our children.

We have seen the government develop a society where the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. This erodes our nation's fabric and, as a result, threatens the very principles for which Canada stands.

Over the years, successive Liberal and Progressive Conservative governments have developed and enhanced medicare, the Canada pension plan, employment insurance, the child tax credit and many other programs, which are as much a part of Canada as the maple leaf. With these corporate tax cuts, these programs are under attack.

I call upon the government to stop the corporate tax cuts, stop the insanity, stop favouring the rich and to start showing some concern and some compassion for ordinary Canadians.

World Cancer Day
Statements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

James Bezan Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, tomorrow is World Cancer Day.

Last year over 170,000 Canadians were diagnosed with cancer. Last year I tabled a private member's bill to combat one of the most common types of cancer, and that is skin cancer. My bill calls for stronger labelling of tanning beds, drawing a link between tanning and skin cancer and warning our youth to avoid tanning machines.

The World Health Organization says that regular tanning results in a 75% increased risk of skin cancer if tanning begins before the age of 30.

My bill has received support from the Canadian Medical Association, the Canadian Dermatology Association and the Canadian Cancer Society, among others.

I applaud Canadian jurisdictions like New Brunswick and Victoria, B.C., for taking strong action to ban youth under 18 from using tanning beds.

As we recognize World Cancer Day tomorrow, we need to remember our friends and family who have battled against all forms of cancer.

I encourage all members to support my bill and to continue to advocate for cancer awareness and education to achieve a healthier future for all Canadians.

Patro Laval and Centre Durocher
Statements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise here today to commend the excellent work of two organizations in my riding. In 2010, they both celebrated important anniversaries.

Patro Laval celebrated 100 years of community involvement. Unconditional acceptance, mutual assistance and a sense of family are just some of the values one can expect from this Quebec City organization, where recreational activities are the focus.

Also, Centre Durocher celebrated its 60th anniversary and can be proud of having had such deeps roots in the community for so many years. Through recreational activities, community action and public education, the centre allows residents of Quebec City's lower town to improve their living conditions.

Patro Laval and Centre Durocher are both active community centres where authenticity and openness to youth and family prevail. I would like to congratulate them on their longevity and thank their staff and volunteers for serving the people of Quebec City with such dedication and passion.

Super Bowl
Statements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Bev Shipley Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to acknowledge a young man from Lambton—Kent—Middlesex who will be playing in the Super Bowl this Sunday. In fact, he is the only Canadian in the Super Bowl.

Shaun Suisham from Wallaceburg is the kicker for the AFC Champion Pittsburgh Steelers. Shaun attended Wallaceburg District Secondary School where he starred as a member of the Wallaceburg Tartans. He went on to Bowling Green University from where he launched his NFL career.

Shaun is a fine young man who gives his time and resources back to his community, returning to Wallaceburg each year to conduct football clinics for young people in the community.

Please join me in wishing Shaun every success this Super Bowl Sunday.

National Suicide Prevention Week
Statements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Justin Trudeau Papineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, today I want to talk about National Suicide Prevention Week. Of the 4,000 suicides committed in Canada each year, 90% involve a person with mental illness. Quebec has the highest suicide rate in the country.

Suicides can affect all generations, but our most vulnerable are our youth. We need to remember that mental health problems usually associated with adults, such as depression, also affect young people.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people, after car accidents. We are still far too reluctant to talk about it, partly because of the sense of guilt and shame that is too often associated with suicide.

We need to break our silence about suicide, but we need to do a whole lot more.

The Canadian Psychiatric Association is calling on the federal government to implement a comprehensive national mental health strategy that will ensure Canadians of all ages are supported in their journey towards recovery and well-being.

Let us work together on a mental health strategy and put an end to suicide.

Wiarton Willy Festival
Statements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Larry Miller Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound, ON

Mr. Speaker, grab your swimsuit, grab your suntan lotion and get ready to go to the beach. Spring is coming early.

Yesterday I joined hundreds of people in the town of Wiarton, gathering around to see if Wiarton Willy would see his shadow. On Groundhog Day, the crowd waited with bated breath as Wiarton Willy, braving a fierce winter storm, came out of his den. Ultimately, he did not see his shadow, meaning spring is just around the corner.

Even Wiarton Willy's wannabe come lately cousins, Shubenacadie Sam and Punxsutawney Phil, waited for Willy's prediction before copycatting with their own predictions.

Now in its 55th year, the Wiarton Willy Festival attracts visitors from every corner of the globe, making it Bruce county's largest winter festival.

This tells us only one thing. Wiarton Willy, the only albino weather predictor in the world, is clearly the undisputed champion of weather forecasting. Not only is he Canada's most famous groundhog, but the most famous in the world.

Long hail Wiarton Willy. Spring is on its way.

Health Care
Statements by Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan Edmonton—Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, Canada's universal public health care system is lauded worldwide. Sadly, universality of care is increasingly at risk, in part due to rising costs, including prescription drugs.

Worst affected are Canadians who are reliant on costly medicines, but can least afford them, seniors and others with low or fixed incomes. In Edmonton, almost 60% of those with low incomes are struggling to pay for necessary medicines.

Universal pharmacare would ensure more equitable access by all Canadians to affordable medicines and quality of life. The federal negotiating position for the next Canada health transfer agreement must include universal pharmacare.

Tommy Douglas, the father of medicare, did not intend to limit it to hospitals and doctors. Coverage of drugs and other services was to follow. Despite repeated proposals and pledges, Canada remains one of the few industrialized countries without a national drug plan.

I challenge every MP to stand with me and the friends of medicare and demand universal coverage for their constituents.

Lunar New Year
Statements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Alice Wong Richmond, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is a great pleasure and honour to celebrate the Lunar New Year with my fellow parliamentarians and Canadians of Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese descent.

It is also my honour, on behalf of the Government of Canada, to extend my best wishes as we celebrate the new year. The Year of the Rabbit is said to be a time of tranquility. I hope this is the case for all Canadians.

Over the last year, the relationship between Canada, Korea and Vietnam has grown stronger. For example, Canada's pavilion at the Shanghai Expo was an unqualified success. The approved destination status agreement has made it easier for Chinese nationals to visit Canada.

Of course, strong ties are a natural result of our great country having more than one million Canadians of Chinese, Vietnamese or Korean descent, making an important contribution to our national life all year long.

I wish all Canadians, particularly those celebrating the new year today, luck, happiness, health and good fortune in the Year of the Rabbit and beyond.

Gung Hay Fat Choy.