House of Commons Hansard #76 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was copyright.

Topics

Sealing Industry
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay Cardigan, PE

Mr. Speaker, on January 12, 2011, over a year ago, the then minister of fisheries and oceans announced that the Government of Canada had acquired market access to China for Canada's sealing industry. To this day not a single transaction has taken place.

Will the Prime Minister bring up the sealing market issue in China? If he does, when he makes another announcement will it mean that we have the necessary market access to China?

Sealing Industry
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Fredericton
New Brunswick

Conservative

Keith Ashfield Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway

Mr. Speaker, as we have indicated before, this side of the House supports our sealers and our sealing industry.

The Chinese government is currently doing a technical review of the policy and hopefully we will see good news forthcoming.

Health
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

NDP

Anne Minh-Thu Quach Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, new documents show that the government is prepared to sacrifice the public health care system in its secret negotiations for a trade agreement with the European Union. Quebec health care unions and organizations are sounding the alarm. They believe that the Régie de l'assurance maladie du Québec is not being adequately protected in the negotiations, which are opening the door to more and more privatization.

Why is the government refusing to adequately protect our public health care system? Will the government exclude public services from the negotiations, yes or no?

Health
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yes or no?

Health
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

South Shore—St. Margaret's
Nova Scotia

Conservative

Gerald Keddy Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, I would thoroughly caution the hon. member from seeing any truth in leaked documents.

When it comes to social services and health care, a free trade agreement with the European Union, like all of Canada's trade agreements, would exclude public services such as public health, public education, social services, water and the rest of the list.

The member should not put any credibility in leaked documents.

International Trade
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Holder London West, ON

Mr. Speaker, communities like my city of London benefit from greater international trade.

The Prime Minister's current visit to China will strengthen our trade and economic ties, and sets the foundation for long-term economic growth in Canada. Under our government, Canada's exports to China have increased by 85%, and this visit is crucial for Canadian jobs.

Today the Prime Minister announced that our Minister of International Trade signed and concluded a foreign investment promotion and protection agreement with China.

I would appreciate it if the parliamentary secretary would tell the House how this agreement will create jobs and promote long-term economic growth for Canada?

International Trade
Oral Questions

3:05 p.m.

South Shore—St. Margaret's
Nova Scotia

Conservative

Gerald Keddy Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for London West for his hard work on trade committee.

Today the Prime Minister announced the conclusion of a landmark job-creating investment agreement between Canada and China. It shows that our ambitious pro trade plan is delivering results by forging new links with high growth markets. This agreement will provide a more stable and secure environment for investors on both sides of the Pacific.

This is good news for Canadian workers and their families.

Immigration
Oral Questions

3:10 p.m.

NDP

Rosane Doré Lefebvre Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, the situation at the immigration detention centre in Laval is cause for concern. The verification of refugee identities takes far too long. Due to the excessive workload, it can take months for officials to process claims.

This leads to health problems and depression among the refugee claimants.

What is more serious is that passing Bill C-4 will make things worse by increasing the time frame from a few months to several years.

Why treat these newcomers like criminals?

Why is the government doing nothing to deal with this situation that is intolerable for the officials and newcomers?

Immigration
Oral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Calgary Southeast
Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney Minister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, the member is wrong.

It is true that there is a waiting list for refugee claimants. We inherited it from the previous government. Fortunately, since last year, the backlog of refugee claims has been reduced by 20,000. The new system that we will be implementing within a few months will accelerate the processing of claims. The processing period will be a few weeks. New claims will be heard by the IRB within two to three months.

Human Rights
Oral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, in 2006, the Prime Minister was preaching about human rights and telling anyone who would listen that he would not back down on fundamental rights in order to trade with China.

Today, it seems the opposite is true; while we have learned that the Conservatives authorized the secret service to use information obtained through torture, the Prime Minister is in China bragging about the importance of economic exchange between the two countries and is content with a simple dialogue on human rights.

How can the government explain this turnabout? Has it abandoned respect for people's most fundamental rights?

Human Rights
Oral Questions

3:10 p.m.

South Shore—St. Margaret's
Nova Scotia

Conservative

Gerald Keddy Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, it is our Conservative government that has aggressively pursued Canada's trade expansion with China. We secured approved destination status for Chinese tourists. Two-way trade is almost $60 billion. That is up from $36 billion under the Liberals. We will not take any lessons on trade from any of the opposition members.

However, let me be clear on human rights. We take every appropriate opportunity to express our human rights concerns to the Chinese government, in a respectful manner.

Status of Women in Parliament
Privilege
Oral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Bloc

Maria Mourani Ahuntsic, QC

Mr. Speaker, you know that I have a great deal of respect for you. I voted for you to be the Speaker. You are a young face in this chamber, a young Speaker, the youngest Speaker in the history of Canada, I believe. I am convinced that a young Speaker such as yourself will breathe new life into the rules, customs and practices of this chamber.

I was pregnant while a member of Parliament and I had a premature baby. I was told that I could not come and vote with a baby in my arms. Is there a rule against this? A custom in this regard? I do not know, but that is what I was told. I was very upset that I was unable to do my parliamentary duty from start to finish, that I was unable to vote when I should because I had my baby with me.

I bring this up now because, as you know, the situation has arisen again in the House. I read what you said to the media to the effect that there is reportedly no rule on this subject and that you did not intend to remove a baby from this chamber. I am sure that you did not intend to do so because I know that you are a very honourable person. You are a father, and I am sure that this was not your intention. However, there is now some ambiguity because I experienced a similar situation.

I would humbly ask you to clarify whether or not there is a rule. If there is a rule, I would like you to do away with it. If there is not, I would like you to clarify this situation so that we women of childbearing age will know how to mange our family lives and achieve a work-life balance.

By so doing, you will also send a message to Quebec and Canadian society saying that women can participate in politics even if they are in their childbearing years and that they have a place in this chamber. This is a key message from both a political and human standpoint.

Right now, we are like the cobbler's barefoot children. It seems that we do not have the right to vote when our babies are with us. I am speaking of newborn babies, not children who are five or six years old and who can be taken to daycare. I am asking you to consider this issue.

There is another thing that I would like to mention. It is like a scavenger hunt to find the infamous change tables in the Parliament buildings. I remember very well that it was extremely difficult for me to find them. The washroom right here still does not have one. I would like to have a few more change tables and the tools for us take care of our small babies while still doing our duties as members of Parliament.

I would like to thank you and tell you that you can rest assured that I will vote for you again if the constituents of Ahuntsic vote for me again in the next election.

Status of Women in Parliament
Privilege
Oral Questions

3:15 p.m.

York—Simcoe
Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, those of us who are the parents of young children know very well that there are real challenges in managing and juggling the needs of our children, as well as the demands of our workplace. That applies not just here in the House of Commons or in the Parliament buildings but, in fact, in all workplaces across the country.

I think this is a question that is appropriate for the procedure and House affairs committee to look at.

Status of Women in Parliament
Privilege
Oral Questions

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the point that is being made but, just for the record, we need to be clear about what happened in the House yesterday. I spoke to you after the incident and you assured me that it was about the use of the cameras in the House. I appreciate that was the right course of action. We all know we cannot take pictures in this House, so I just want to set that record straight.

I also appreciate that all members in the House have been very generous in the past in allowing young mothers to bring their babies into the House, to recognize the difficulty with respect to work-life balance.

There are incidents where Sheila Copps brought her baby into the House, Caroline St-Hilaire brought her baby into the House and Michelle Dockrill brought her baby into the House. There certainly are such precedents.

I appreciate the understanding of all members about how difficult it is to do this job and have a newborn. I take it on faith that all the members will continue to exhibit that goodwill. I do not think we need to debate this issue further. I appreciate the understanding and support that all members are showing the member for Verchères—Les Patriotes.

Status of Women in Parliament
Privilege
Oral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise on this point to make an additional comment because there is need for the ambiguity to be cleared up.

The hon. member just mentioned Michelle Dockrill, the former member of Parliament from Cape Breton. She did bring her son, Kenzie, into the House but she was told never to do it again. She was nursing her son at the time and was told that eating in the chamber violated the rules of the chamber. I think we need greater clarity.