House of Commons Hansard #133 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was jordan.

Topics

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Sixtieth Anniversary of the Reign of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II
Government Orders

3:20 p.m.

Conservative

Jason Kenney Calgary Southeast, AB

moved:

That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty the Queen in the following words:

TO THE QUEEN'S MOST EXCELLENT MAJESTY:

MOST GRACIOUS SOVEREIGN:

We, Your Majesty's loyal and dutiful subjects, the House of Commons of Canada in Parliament assembled, beg to offer our sincere congratulations on the happy completion of the sixtieth year of Your reign.

The People of Canada have often been honoured to welcome Your Majesty and other members of the Royal Family to our land during Your reign, and have witnessed directly Your inspiring example of devotion to duty and unselfish labour on behalf of the welfare of Your People in this country and in the other nations of the Commonwealth.

In this, the Diamond Jubilee year of your reign as Queen of Canada, we trust that Your gracious and peaceful reign may continue for many years and that Divine Providence will preserve Your Majesty in health, in happiness and in the affectionate loyalty of Your people.

That the said Address be engrossed; and

That a Message be sent to the Senate informing their Honours that this House has adopted the said Address and requesting their Honours to unite with this House in the said Address by filling up the blanks with the words “the Senate and”

Mr. Speaker, it is my honour to rise in celebration of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II's diamond jubilee.

We salute today the 60th anniversary of Canada's Queen.

On June 2, 1953, Her Majesty was asked in the Coronation Oath, in the presence of the Prime Minister, Louis St. Laurent, and the Canadian delegation at Westminster Abbey, to “solemnly promise and swear to govern the Peoples of”, among other realms, “Canada...according to their respective laws and customs”, This the Queen solemnly promised to do.

This solemn oath, made 60 years ago in the presence of the Canadian prime minister and officials, the Queen has upheld to the fullness of her considerable ability and with the magnificent charm and grace for which Her Majesty is known throughout the world.

How many peoples around the world, torn apart by war and corruption at the highest level, would rather be in Canada, where we have stable institutions, peace and good government by the head of state, the Crown? How many sensible people have observed with envy the strength, dedicated perseverance and great wisdom of our most gracious head of state?

Two years ago, Her Majesty and His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh made their 22nd official visit to Canada. They have met more Canadians and shaken more hands and opened more events and institutions than even the most experienced members of this House can claim to have done in their long career.

She has served as Colonel-in-Chief, Captain General and doyenne of the captains of proud regiments, including the Royal 22nd Regiment, the Régiment de la Chaudière, the Royal Canadian Air Force, the Governor General's Foot Guards and the Calgary Highlanders.

She is patron of over 33 charities in Canada, including the Canadian Red Cross, the Canadian Nurses Association, the Royal Canadian Legion, the Canadian Cancer Society and Save the Children, among many others.

In a life dedicated to serving others, Her Majesty has served Canadians and become intimately acquainted with our country, its regions, its peoples and our hopes and aspirations.

It is Her Majesty the Queen who opened the St. Lawrence Seaway in 1959, invoking the allied victory in which Canada and the United States shared 14 years earlier, and calling the seaway “a victory of another kind”. In English and French, she invoked Canadian history from the times of Cartier and LaSalle to the present, the scene of so much of North American history.

Her Majesty's life has been the history of Canada. She has known personally every prime minister since Mackenzie King who she met as Princess Elizabeth in London in the 1940s. While it is not known if she met R.B. Bennett, she did meet Arthur Meighen during the 1951 royal tour a year before she became Queen.

Canada has had 22 prime ministers up to today and the Queen has known 13 of them, more than half of all the prime ministers in the history of Canada since we re-founded our country with Dominion status in 1867.

In fact, the story goes that even Pierre Trudeau was known to admire the Queen personally. It is even said that so great was his personal regard for Her Majesty as a stateswoman with encyclopedic knowledge of Canada, that he deliberately entrenched the monarchy in the Constitution Act of 1982, which, of course, can only be amended in this respect with the unanimity of all provinces.

It was Her Majesty the Queen who opened the Canadian Centennial celebrations of 1967, the Centennial of Confederation. It is the Queen who signed into force the Constitution Act of 1982 in front of these Houses of Parliament.

The Queen, then, has been with us on all the most important occasions of our modern national life. She has borne with us through thick and thin, through peace and war, as she did in the service of His Majesty's forces during the Second World War, through prosperity and times of economic downturn.

Continuity is a central theme in Queen Elizabeth's diamond jubilee. We are very proud that Her Majesty is carrying on the great tradition of the Crown as the guardian of our rights as Canadians, including protection of freedom of religion, language, and our civil law system. Our constitutional monarchy has survived every war and revolution, remaining loyal to the Canadian people and their rights.

She shares with that powerful and evocative symbol of Canada's founding, Queen Victoria, who chose the location of the capital in which we sit, the achievement of 60 years on the throne.

In 1897, the then prime minister, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, was in London for the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth's great-grandmother, Queen Victoria. A few years later, this great Quebecker, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, known above all for his Canadian patriotism, celebrated the Canadian role in uniting the Canadian family throughout, at the time the British Empire, during the South African War.

Laurier overcame his earlier opposition to that conflict and instead came to recognize that Canada's service under the Crown on the African veldt was a source of pride and international prestige.

Laurier said in this House in 1900:

is there a man whose bosom did not swell with pride, the noblest of all pride, the pride of pure patriotism, the pride of the consciousness of our rising strength, the pride of the consciousness that that day the fact had been revealed to the world that a new power had arisen in the west.

This quotation from 112 years ago is how I answer that charge that Canada's monarchy is somehow a hindrance to our sense of nationality in 2012.

The Queen is Canadian. All of the proud associations we share with the monarchy are Canadian through and through. Canada, in fact, Canadianized the monarchy in 1931 with the Statute of Westminster. Before then, it could be argued that we shared a common imperial crown. However, after 1931, Canada had a monarchy in its own right.

In this era of internationalism and in a country with many regions, three founding peoples and two official languages, we benefit greatly from having a head of state who resides not in Quebec or Ontario or any other region, but who can visit each region as equally as possible. Queen Elizabeth represents all regions and all Canadian peoples equally.

When we speak of the Crown in Canada, whether in this Parliament or in a myriad of institutions across the country, we are speaking of a uniquely Canadian institution, shaped and tailored by Canadians over the decades and generations to our own needs and requirements. It is not something imposed on us. We ourselves have chosen it and continue to choose it every time we reopen this House and this Parliament in Her Majesty's name and under her mantle.

Every day we Canadians enjoy the protection and benediction of that crown and mantle, and every day we open this House, praying for our sovereign lady, the Queen.

Let me close with a prayer, one that is an invocation from the Canadian Book of Common Prayer for the Queen in celebration of this remarkable achievement, her diamond jubilee:

O Lord...the only Ruler of princes, who dost from thy throne behold all the dwellers upon earth: Most heartily we beseech thee with thy favour to behold our most gracious Sovereign Lady, Queen Elizabeth...that she may alway incline to thy will, and walk in thy way: Endue her plenteously with heavenly gifts; grant her in health and wealth long to live; strengthen her that she may vanquish and overcome all her enemies; and finally after this life she may attain everlasting joy and felicity.

It is a great honour and privilege, on behalf of all members of Parliament from all regions of Canada and on behalf of the Canadian people, to congratulate Queen Elizabeth II on her 60 years of service to the people of the Commonwealth and to the people of Canada.

It is an honour to congratulate, on behalf of the Canadian people represented here in this Chamber, Her Majesty upon achieving by the grace of God this tremendous milestone of 60 years as our gracious and faithful Queen.

God bless Canada, and God save the Queen.

Sixtieth Anniversary of the Reign of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II
Government Orders

3:30 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister of Citizenship and Immigration for his wonderful grace to our gracious queen, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth.

It is indeed an honour for me to rise on behalf of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition to give a few words in honour of this tremendous celebration of her 60 years on the throne as Queen of England, Queen of Canada and Queen of the Commonwealth.

When we look at the history of Queen Elizabeth and her family, it is truly an amazing history to be able to live in the time of her life and see what she has done from June 2, 1952, on to today and for the years to come. She has been a symbol of grace and a symbol of wondrous achievement in what she has done. With her respect for all peoples, all religions, all languages, the Commonwealth, family and, above all, her faith, she has been what I would call a beacon of light and a beacon of hope for all people, not just of the Commonwealth but of the world. She has truly lived her life in the service of her country and the Commonwealth. That is much to the chagrin of many people. People in the United States, for example, would love to have someone like Queen Elizabeth as their head of state, as she truly resembles tradition from long ago.

As someone who was liberated by the Canadian military and her allies, the Brits, the Poles and the Americans, I can say her undying support for the men and women who wear the uniform has been nothing short of absolutely fantastic. Her love and her respect for the men and women of the service and those who become veterans is truly an example that we can all take to understand that democracy is not free, that freedom is not free. It is those men and women who are willing to sacrifice all for king and country and queen and country, and why they do what they do is truly tremendous. Her respect for them is truly tremendous.

As a Canadian of 56 years old, living under Queen Elizabeth as the monarch of Canada has been truly a wondrous thing. Coming from the Netherlands, I gave up an oath to one queen to give a pledge of allegiance to another queen, and it is really quite something. I did it without hesitation. As we say, I am a Dutchman by birth, but a Canadian by choice. I am deeply honoured that Canada has retained the ties to the Crown, because it is the Crown that is the symbol of our history and of our direction. In fact, the chair you sit in, Mr. Speaker, comes from Westminster.

With our ties to England, our ties to France and our ties to other countries, we are indeed a commonwealth of nations. Her search for justice and for peace among all nations and all religions is truly tremendous.

Who can forget her speeches when she gives the Queen's address on Christmas and New Years? It truly is an amazing thing.

When we look at 1992, it was a terrible year for her, with the efforts of her children and that of Westminster, and she handled herself with grace and dignity. It truly was a very difficult year for our Queen, but she handled it with such grace. Upon the death of Princess Diana, who but the Queen could have handled that with such grace, dignity and respect? It was not just for Diana and her family and her son, Prince Charles, and the grandchildren but for all of England and all of the world that was suffering through that tragic death of our great Princess Diana. It was the Queen who showed the leadership. It was the Queen who showed the way forward.

Now that she celebrates her 60th year on the throne, it is we as Canadian subjects of the Queen who wish her the very best, long continued health and long continued success. It is we as Canadians who thank the Queen for her service, for she truly has done God's work on the throne of England and the throne of Canada and that of the Commonwealth. She truly has been a symbol of hope, truth, justice, charity and love.

On behalf of our leader and all New Democrats across the country and on behalf of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition, we say God save our Queen and may she live a long and glorious life. God bless.

Sixtieth Anniversary of the Reign of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II
Government Orders

3:35 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to express our strong feelings as members of the Liberal Party on the occasion of the diamond jubilee celebrations of the reign of Queen Elizabeth II.

Like the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, I was also combing through the debates of the past. It is an interesting contrast. The expression of congratulations to Queen Victoria in 1897 on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of her reign was, of course, proposed by the Prime Minister of the day, who was Sir Wilfrid Laurier, to a packed house. The motion was seconded Sir Charles Tupper, the leader of the official opposition.

As the leader of the Liberal Party today, it is a great honour for me to be able to participate in this, not debate, but this discussion and this motion. I think it is important for us to use this occasion to reflect, not simply on this day, on this weekend, where many of us have seen the celebrations that have been taking place, but also for us to be reflecting, as well, on the significance of her reign over 60 years and for us to be reflecting on the achievements of those 60 years and the impact they have had on our own country, Canada.

It is an honour for me to speak about this historic event—the Queen's celebration of the 60th anniversary of the start of her reign—but at the same time to reflect a bit on the importance of the principles of the constitutional monarchy from which we have benefited over the years.

I think it is important for us to reflect on the significance of her reign and her understanding of Canada and the role she has played not only in the evolution of our own country but also in the evolution of the British Commonwealth.

We can all remember. I suppose we cannot all remember, but some of us can. Certainly I can remember going to school in the 1950s, soon after her taking on the responsibilities as monarch, and looking at a map of the world on the wall. Of course the map on the wall in the 1950s would be coloured with different colours for different countries.

There was this huge pink space covering so many parts of the globe. India, which was at one time called the jewel of the empire, received its independence in 1948 prior to Queen Elizabeth's assuming her responsibilities. It is also fair to say that certainly, for most of Africa, parts of Asia and for great parts of the world, the world was still an imperial and colonial place.

The world was also divided between east and west by what Winston Churchill, in his famous speech at Fulton in 1946, described as an iron curtain, which went from the Baltic to the Adriatic.

Growing up at that time, there seemed to be certain things that would never change. One of them, of course, was the fact that the world was divided between the communist and non-communist worlds. The second was that the colonial and imperial world was changing, but there were some bastions in that world, like South Africa, which would always be divided and always be ruled by a racial minority.

What we have seen through her long reign is that Queen Elizabeth has in fact not only presided over her country, her many countries of Canada and Australia and elsewhere, where she is recognized not only as the head of the Commonwealth but also as Queen of the country, but she also presided over an extraordinary transformation.

The first great transformation was the transformation from empire to commonwealth. It had its roots, as the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism has said, in the Statute of Westminster in 1930-31 when Canada assumed far more responsibilities for its self-government. It took a huge transformation of the world to go from a world where Britain was at the centre of an empire, where the sun literally never set, to the point where Britain was one country among many equals participating in the Commonwealth of Nations.

For those of us who have been students of British constitutional history, it really should have come as no surprise that the monarchy was quite able to make this adjustment from being an active political head of state to being more of a ceremonial head who presides over an extraordinarily diverse and democratic polity. It has been done with grace, distinction, understanding and intelligence, without condescension and rancour, and with a great deal of humanity and compassion.

Those of us who have watched the Queen when she has come to Canada and those of us who have had an opportunity to meet her and speak with her and the members of her family have always been struck, certainly I have, by the enormous sense of intelligent engagement, great affection and deep knowledge that Her Majesty has for this country, the political changes that are under way in this country, and all of the ramifications and meanings.

My colleague, the member for Wascana, was reminding me of this when he told me about a visit that the Queen had made to Regina in 2003. When the Queen visited the University of Regina, she dedicated the opening of the First Nations University and laid a stone tablet in the building. This is what she said at that time:

This stone was taken from the grounds of Balmoral Castle in the Highlands of Scotland—a place dear to my great great grandmother, Queen Victoria. It symbolizes the foundation of the rights of First Nations peoples reflected in treaties signed with the Crown during her reign.

Bearing the cipher of Queen Victoria as well as my own, this stone is presented to the First Nations University of Canada in the hope that it will serve as a reminder of the special relationship between the Sovereign and all First Nations peoples.

Those of us who are familiar with the law of aboriginal peoples will know that of all the relationships that are cherished by the first nations people of Canada, it is the relationship with the Crown which is perhaps most important because that is a relationship of equals. It is a relationship of nations, between sovereign people and based on respect. When we look at the great historical proclamation of 1763, we realize to what extent many of the historic rights and freedoms which all Canadians have and value do not come against the opposition of the Crown, do not come by fighting against a tyrannical monarchy, but, rather, come because the monarchy has had the good and common sense to recognize those rights and lay them out in our law.

I have the comments made by my friend, the member for Wascana, and they are very helpful. In Regina, in 1973, in talking about Canada, the Queen stated the following:

Canada asks no citizens to deny their forebears, to forsake their inheritance—only that each should accept and value the cultural freedom of others as he enjoys his own. It is a gentle invitation, this call to citizenship.

What wonderful words those are, “a gentle invitation”. She has described in those words something of what we see as great in our own country, its sense of civility, its sense not simply of tolerance but of celebration of difference and, at the same time, our deep understanding that unity has to mean something as well.

I think all Canadians took enormous pride, certainly I do, and I know it was a moment of great importance in the history of our country when Queen Elizabeth was present for the signing of the Charter of Rights of Freedoms and for the patriation of the Constitution of Canada, an important moment because it was a constitutional moment. It was a moment in which we reflected on where we had been before and where we would go in the future.

When one looks at all of the polling information, all of the reflections, the public opinion that one can see, it is very clear in all of that, that if there is one central document in which Canadians take pride, if there is one central moment of which Canadians of all backgrounds are proud, it is the moment of patriation and it is the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

If we look at all of the polls that have been conducted in Quebec and across Canada, we see that Canadians are proud of two things: that the Constitution is now Canadian, thanks to its repatriation; and that a charter of rights is enshrined in the Constitution. What we must understand is the importance of our relationship with the constitutional monarchy represented by Her Majesty the Queen.

At the beginning of my speech I said that, in 1897, we had celebrations similar to those that will be held on the weekend, but they were to celebrate the reign of another queen—Queen Victoria.

Naturally, I was very happy that the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism quoted the important words of Sir Wilfrid Laurier at the time of Queen Victoria's death.

I would like to share another important quote that ties into today's celebration.

In the debate on June 2, 1897, we have a little bit of a sense of our connection with today, June 4, 2012, what did Wilfrid Laurier say when he was talking of Queen Victoria? He said:

...above all this there has been the personality of the sovereign herself. The personality of the sovereign herself has been high in everything that has tended to cultivate and adorn her reign.

...in public life, though she has been a constitutional sovereign in every sense of the term, yet it is known that on more than one occasion she has exerted a personal influence in unravelling difficulties and in carrying the nation successfully through troubled periods.

Perhaps one of her chief glories, perhaps the chiefest of all her glories, is that in so far as she has been a sovereign she has been in every sense a model constitutional sovereign.

For us Canadians, one thing which we cannot forget is that under her reign we have obtained the inestimable benefit of responsible government. It is as dutiful subjects that we approach her on this occasion and not as sycophants; but it is our pride to give her upon this occasion the allegiance, the willing allegiance, of free men.

I think those words, with a couple of perhaps small amendments that one has to make because of the changing circumstances of our time and the dramatic revolutions of equality that have taken place in our own country, one could cite exactly these words and apply them directly to Queen Elizabeth.

Just as we now speak of the Victoria era and of Victorian times, I think we all recognize that in these last 60 years we have seen a new Elizabethan era, an era in which rights around the world have literally exploded.

There has been violence, yes, but it is because of the principles of constitutionalism, because of the principles of tolerance and of respect and of understanding the tides and the winds of change that the monarchy has been able to preside over these dramatic changes. These changes have produced great improvements in the life of hundreds of millions of people, which has meant that hundreds of millions are now governed by their own leaders for whom they have voted and with whom they have participated.

It also means that in our own case of Canada, we have gone one more step in our constitutional evolution, a natural and important and historic step with the entrenchment of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the patriation of our own Constitution.

In celebrating this event it is important for us to recognize that as we look at the event on television it is celebrated with great gusto and great joy by the British people, but it is also an event in which Canadians can take pride. It is a connection that we have. It is a connection that transcends race, religion, creed and background.

We have a constitutional monarch who is above politics, rancour and division, and who allows for change and evolution at all times to be taking place and for the vigour of partisanship to exist. This system that we have, this great country which we continue to build, we build in a context of friendship and of respect.

It is in that spirit, and as Sir Wilfrid Laurier said, “in no sycophantic spirit” that we celebrate this great occasion today.

Sixtieth Anniversary of the Reign of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II
Government Orders

3:55 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is with great pride that I join parliamentary colleagues today in paying tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

We have heard some very fine tributes, some anecdotes and memories of the enormous span of what has occurred in the time of her reign, moments of great affection which we relate to this particular queen as well to the system of government in which we have a head of state who resides in another country.

It certainly is the case that the notion of being a constitutional monarchy is found with disfavour among many of my friends and colleagues, and I will include among them many in my own party. There is a sense that this is somehow an anachronism. However, I would like to stand today not just to pay tribute to Her Majesty the Queen, but to point out the many ways in which this system of government, of constitutional monarchy, makes sense for Canada.

I first want to pay tribute to Her Majesty the Queen, the person. What an extraordinary life. The hon. Minister of Immigration did a wonderful job in refreshing our minds as to what happened to a young princess, the various blows in history that were so very personal to this one little girl, first the death of her grandfather and then the abdication of her uncle from the throne which put her in direct line to becoming the Queen of England and of all of the realm and Commonwealth. They were extraordinary times and she never failed to rise to the occasion.

Tragically then there was the death of her father, King George VI. For most of us, the loss of a parent is a time for deep grieving and we need to be alone to cope and deal with a moment of great personal grief. I cannot begin to imagine how difficult it would have been for a young woman to realize that, with the loss of her father, personal grieving was something that duty would not allow. She stepped into the role of sovereign within moments of her father's death.

Her Majesty the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh as well as her children, and the Prince of Wales who has been a prominent global environmentalist, and the ways in which they have conducted themselves have been examples to us all of duty over personal desires or momentary digressions. They have consistently applied themselves to the task, but particularly in the case of Her Majesty the Queen.

I have had occasion to meet with various members of the royal family, although I have never been so fortunate as to meet Her Majesty. However, because we were sharing anecdotes earlier, I recall one story. It is with respect to a friend of mine who at that time worked for a member of Parliament and was somehow put in a position on the royal tour of 1996 of looking after the two young princes. Will and Harry were young boys and their parents were busy with official duties, and lacking for anything to try to entertain them. It happened quite out of the blue that my friend suddenly had to look after the two little boys. To me this brings together the notion of the personal and the role as the symbol of our country. He decided that it might be entertaining for the young princes to see our brand new toonie. He pulled one out of his pocket and said, “You see, boys, this is our new coin. There's a polar bear on our coin.” They were fascinated by it. They took it from him and they looked at it and said, “Oh yes, it's a polar bear.” Then they turned it over and said, “Oh, and it's granny on the back.” Then they asked if they could. I thought how dear was that for these little boys that their grandmother was on the coins of the realm, literally.

As we celebrate this Diamond Jubilee, so many stories are being shared through the media with respect to the sense of great affection and the role she plays as matriarch of a family that has gone through and endured tremendous stresses, while at the same time being our symbol.

Why does that make any sense in a modern country? Constitutional monarchy does something quite wonderful.

In the United States, where the notion of constitutional monarchy in 1776 was rejected and rebelled against King George III, members will notice that with the elected officials in the United States, the president and so on, the public clamours for royalty. Therefore, there is this notion of the first lady, the first family, the first dog, the family dogs of every president of the United States. I can recall the names of family dogs of presidents of the United States going back to F.D.R.'s dog Fala and who can forget Checkers, or L.B.J. and his beagles.

This is an unhealthy fascination with people who are, like all of us parliamentarians, mere mortal elected officials. We come and we go. Our duty should be to our country and to serve in Parliament. It confuses things altogether to have so much pomp and ceremony surrounding an elected official, such as a president or a member of Parliament who holds the title of leader of their party and hence becomes a prime minister.

It is very healthy that we do not turn a prime minister into a royal. In order to avoid that natural human temptation, we need the monarchy. We need to know that there is a royal family, and we are not electing it. We need to keep those roles separate and a constitutional monarchy allows us to do that. It allows us recognize that we in Parliament, built on the Westminster parliamentary system, although I have to admit we are slipping on that point, should recognize that our prime minister is merely first among equals and the head of state is Her Majesty the Queen, ruling over all of the Commonwealth.

There is another important relationship, and I am grateful to my friend, the hon. leader of the Liberal Party, for mentioning it. Canadians need to think about, particularly those who do not see a role for a monarchy in our modern era, that the most direct relationship that exists between Canada's first nation peoples and those of us who are descendant from the colonizers is directly through Her Majesty the Queen and the royal family.

I want to enter into the record some quotes about this.

Lord Denning, one of my favourite erudite and wonderful writers from the Privy Council of the United Kingdom, back in 1982 made this comment about the relationship between Canada's first nations and the Crown. He wrote, “No Parliament shall do anything to lessen the worth of these guarantees”. He speaks of the guarantees of rights of indigenous peoples in Canada through their relationship to the Crown. He said, “They should be honoured by the Crown in respect of Canada as the sun rises and the rivers flow. That promise must never be broken”. Lord Denning was very respected jurist from the High Court of the United Kingdom.

I also want to share some thoughts from the current national leader of the Assembly of First Nations. National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo has spoken of these relationships very recently. In fact, these words were on the occasion of the May visit between the Assembly of First Nations leadership and Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall. I will quote National Chief Atleo. He said:

I would like to thank the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall for spending time with First Nations leaders today as we have an historical relationship with the Imperial Crown pre-dating the existence of Canada. The meeting focused on the enduring relationship between First Nations and the Crown based on Treaties and noting the upcoming 250th anniversary of the Royal Proclamation of 1763 in October 2013, and how renewing the relationship must be the basis of our work today to achieve fundamental change for First Nations in Canada.

Canada, as a successor state, has not honoured the spirit and intent of Treaties and the Chiefs made sure to remind them of previous assurances provided by Queen Elizabeth when she affirmed the Treaties in an address on July 5, 1973 to the Chiefs in Alberta, stating “You may be assured that my Government of Canada recognizes the importance of full compliance with the spirit of your Treaties”.

It is this relationship which is quite fundamental. We often talk about Canada as being founded by two nations, primarily England and France, but I agree with John Ralston Saul, that it is a fairer country because we are founded more on three pillars than two. We are more a stool than an unbalanced twosome. We are because of first nations' founding position in this country of ours. I think we must respect the fact that first nations' rights go beyond inherent treaty rights. Indigenous rights go beyond what is in treaties and they are primarily recognized through a very direct and personal relationship.

The ancestors of our current Queen signed promises and commitments to first nations people in Canada, and that treaty relationship of Crown to indigenous peoples is one that continues and must continue.

On this 60th anniversary of the reign of Queen Elizabeth, I join with all my friends in Parliament in saying, in a very personal way, that we have been so very fortunate to have such a dedicated, such an exemplary, such a hard-working and wonderful monarch who so truly loves all of the Commonwealth and has clearly shown her affection for Canada through so many visits. On this her Diamond Jubilee, we have all been honoured.

I thank the current Privy Council for making the decision to create a special medal and to allow each one of us as parliamentarians to work with our local communities to find those people who have done so much work in their community that they can be recognized with a Diamond Jubilee Medal.

This brings us all together, and as other members have said, the fact is the Queen is beyond partisanship, beyond rancour, plays no role in our domestic politics but sets an example. When we all take our oath as members of Parliament, we swear one thing only, and that is our allegiance to Her Majesty the Queen. We do this again today as we recognize, celebrate and commend an extraordinary woman on 60 years on the throne.

Long may she reign. Long live the Queen.

Sixtieth Anniversary of the Reign of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II
Government Orders

4:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Barry Devolin

Pursuant to an order made on Friday, June 1, Motion No. 13 under government business is deemed adopted.

(Motion agreed to)

Canada–Jordan Economic Growth and Prosperity Act
Government Orders

4:05 p.m.

Conservative

Ted Menzies Macleod, AB

moved that the bill be concurred in.

Canada–Jordan Economic Growth and Prosperity Act
Government Orders

4:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Barry Devolin

Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Canada–Jordan Economic Growth and Prosperity Act
Government Orders

4:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Canada–Jordan Economic Growth and Prosperity Act
Government Orders

4:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Barry Devolin

(Motion agreed to)

When shall the bill be read the third time? By leave, now?

Canada–Jordan Economic Growth and Prosperity Act
Government Orders

4:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Canada–Jordan Economic Growth and Prosperity Act
Government Orders

4:05 p.m.

Conservative

Ted Menzies Macleod, AB

moved that the bill be read a third time and passed.

Canada–Jordan Economic Growth and Prosperity Act
Government Orders

4:05 p.m.

South Shore—St. Margaret's
Nova Scotia

Conservative

Gerald Keddy Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise in the House today to commence the third reading debate on the Canada-Jordan economic growth and prosperity act.

The Canada-Jordan free trade agreement is yet another example of our government's commitment to helping Canadian businesses compete in markets abroad and create more jobs for Canadian workers here at home. We continue to see fierce competition in the global marketplace, with emerging economies and global players further establishing themselves in a wide range of sectors and integrating themselves into global value chains.

In a number of countries, Canadian firms are at a disadvantage because their foreign competitors have preferential market access under some form of free trade agreement. Like other initiatives in our negotiating agenda, the Canada-Jordan free trade agreement addresses this serious issue by levelling the playing field with key competitors who are already benefiting from preferential market access to Jordan, namely, businesses from the United States and the European Union.

Through the negotiation and signing of the free trade agreement with Jordan, our government is ensuring that Canadian firms are on an equal footing to compete with firms from across the world in the Jordanian market.

Opening doors to trade and investment is the right approach to create opportunities for Canadian workers and businesses in global markets. Our government will do everything it can to ensure that Canadian workers and businesses have the tools and opportunities to build the links needed to succeed in today's global economy. We are committed to bringing continued economic prosperity to Canadians by pursuing bilateral and regional free trade agreements. That is why we are moving forward on an ambitious pro-trade plan to help Canadians compete and win in global markets.

Over the years, Canada and Jordan have built a strong, mutually beneficial relationship and this free trade agreement continues to build on that important relationship. It is a relationship grounded in common aspirations, aspirations like peace, stability and prosperity for our citizens, and this new free trade agreement would help to move these aspirations forward.

Members will recall that, in 2007, the Prime Minister joined His Majesty King Abdullah II in a commitment to take our commercial relationship to the next level. The Canada-Jordan free trade agreement, along with related agreements on labour co-operation and the environment signed in 2009, are a direct result of this commitment. This free trade agreement would benefit both Canada and Jordan by giving Canadian and Jordanian exporters unprecedented access to our respective markets, eliminating tariffs on a number of key products.

Jordan's current average applied tariff is 10%, with peaks of up to 30% applied on some products of Canadian export interests. In fact, 67% of Jordanian tariff lines, covering over 99% of Canadian exports, will be eliminated when the agreement is first implemented. Jordan's remaining tariff reductions will then take place over three to five years.

Of course, a free trade agreement is not a one-way street, nor should it be. Jordan also stands to gain from this free trade agreement. Our government will eliminate all Canadians tariffs on Jordanian goods immediately upon entry into force of the agreement, with the exception of over-quota supply managed dairy, poultry and egg products which are excluded from the tariff reduction.

Canada's trade with Jordan is very diverse. Our top five merchandise exports to Jordan are pulses, mainly lentils and chick peas; wood; vehicles; paper and paperboard; and machinery. Our bilateral merchandise exports more than doubled between 2003 and 2011. This free trade agreement would further enhance the Canada-Jordan trade relationship.

Members will remember that our free trade agreement was just one of the agreements we signed with Jordan in 2009. We also signed a bilateral foreign investment protection and promotion agreement, or FIPA, which came into force on December 14, 2009. This agreement establishes clear rules for investment between our two countries. Canadian investors are particularly excited about opportunities in Jordan's resource extraction, energy, telecommunications, transportation, manufacturing and infrastructure sectors. The FIPA provides Canadian and Jordanian investors with the predictability and certainty they need when investing in one another's markets.

I am sure all hon. members would all agree that this free trade agreement and the 2009 FIPA with Jordan are no doubt complementary.

In addition to the free trade agreement and the FIPA, our government also signed parallel agreements on labour co-operation and the environment. The labour co-operation agreement signed with Jordan includes commitments to ensuring that each other's laws respect the International Labour Organization's 1998 Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, and that they protect labour rights and provide a mechanism to address labour complaints.

Canada and Jordan have also negotiated an agreement on the environment that commits the parties to maintain high levels of environmental protection, to effectively enforce domestic environmental laws and to not relax or derogate from such laws to attract trade or investment.

Canada believes that trade liberalization and environmental protection can and must be mutually supportive.

We are living in very challenging economic times and our government has made the economy its number one priority. In order to ensure that our economy continues to grow and continues to compete in the global marketplace, trade barriers are being broken down all across the world through new free trade agreements.

Protectionism is never the answer.

Demonstrating Canada's commitment through new agreements, such as the Canada-Jordan free trade agreement, is key to encouraging other countries, including developing nations, to reject protectionism and embrace free and open trade.

Our government recognizes that trade and investment are cornerstones of our economic success as a nation. Sixty per cent of our GDP and one in five jobs depend upon trade. While our economy has out-performed much of the world in recent years, we cannot take our success for granted. Hard-working Canadians are counting on us to continue expanding markets and opening doors for our businesses to succeed around the world.

That is what our pro-trade plan is all about. It is the most ambitious plan of its kind in Canada's history. The potential benefits are enormous. This is why I ask all hon. members to support Bill C-23, the Canada-Jordan economic growth and prosperity act.

I said earlier in my speech that we should not take Canada's prosperity for granted and we should not. The prosperity that we have today is based on a number of tenets. It is based on a secure and solid financial footing. It is based on free trade agreements and jobs and opportunities for Canadian businesses and workers through those agreements.

Before I sit down I would be remiss not to ask our opposition critics and the opposition parties to support this agreement, then to move forward and support Panama and support the agreement with the European Union because that is the only way that we will maintain our place in the world and maintain markets for our Canadian businesses and jobs for our Canadian workers.

Canada–Jordan Economic Growth and Prosperity Act
Government Orders

4:15 p.m.

NDP

Don Davies Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, I agree with much of my hon. colleague's speech.

I would like to ask the member for his opinion on a particular issue. A common issue that arises in trade agreements is the effect trade agreements have or do not have on raising or lowering the human rights, labour or environmental standards in a particular jurisdiction. The government has steadfastly asserted that by signing trade agreements it has the effect of engaging with those countries and, therefore, raising those standards in those countries.

In committee, the New Democrats put forth some amendments to the legislation that would require the legislation to have yearly benchmarks to chart the progress in the human rights, labour standards and environmental standards areas so we would know what effect the trade deals had and we could put the proof of the matter to the government's test. However, government members rejected those amendments.

If my hon. colleague believes that these agreements do raise those standards, why would the government be afraid of putting in benchmark measurements so we could see if that contention was accurate?