House of Commons Hansard #208 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was rcmp.

Topics

Enhancing Royal Canadian Mounted Police Accountability Act
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Barry Devolin

The time for government orders has expired. The hon. member for York South—Weston will have 16 minutes remaining the next time this matter returns before the House.

Statements by members, the hon. member for Guelph.

Resignation of Pope
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Frank Valeriote Guelph, ON

Mr. Speaker, it was with sadness that Roman Catholics across Canada and the world learned that Pope Benedict XVI will step down as Bishop of Rome and head of the Roman Catholic Church at the end of February.

During his papacy, Canada saw the elevation of the Archbishop of Toronto to Cardinal, as well as the canonization of Brother André and Saint Kateri Tekakwitha.

I can recall with emotion while in Rome last spring to witness the elevation of His Eminence, Thomas Collins, a Guelph native, to cardinal, seeing a moment during communion when a mother approached the Holy Father with her child. I was moved as time seemed to stop when he paused and blessed her child before continuing with his duties.

Always mindful of his role as servant of the servants of God, Benedict approached his vocation with great devotion, and it is with deep humility that he acknowledged today that he had reached his physical limit for such an important responsibility.

I join members across the House and Catholics across Canada and the world who thank him and pray for his health and well-being in the coming years.

Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Ray Boughen Palliser, SK

Mr. Speaker, the diamond jubilee medal honours Her Majesty's 60 years as Queen of Canada while allowing Canadians to recognize those who serve society.

Over the weekend, I was pleased to host a ceremony recognizing 30 outstanding individuals from my riding of Palliser who have served their communities and country without expecting recognition. From military service to community service, from mentoring youth to helping seniors, from attending to those in crisis to helping children at home or abroad, these 30 individuals are deserving of this medal.

I would like to thank our emcee, Candis Kirpatrick; our guest speaker, Senator Pamela Wallin; and the nominators who brought these individuals to our attention. Lending a hand is a valuable service, and I am honoured to help recognize these deserving individuals.

Government Priorities
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Mike Sullivan York South—Weston, ON

Mr. Speaker, my youngest son Joe is another year older today. His aspirations are much like the aspirations of many Canadians, like those who attended my town hall meeting last month on the budget priorities for the federal government.

He, like many residents in my riding, thinks that we should invest in more training and skills development for young people like him and older workers, so that he and others like him will be able to meet the skills shortage facing Canada and have better job prospects.

Like my son Joe, many residents in York South—Weston agree that we should have universal public child care so that parents can afford to keep working to support their families. They believe that we need to do more to improve the lives of aboriginal Canadians, including giving them the same access to quality education that all Canadians receive. They believe that we need to strengthen environmental protection laws, not diminish them. Our children will inherit this country some day and do not want to be saddled with our environmental mistakes.

These were all things I heard loud and clear in my budget town hall. My son gets it. The question is why the government does not get it.

Imjin River Cup
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Holder London West, ON

Mr. Speaker, members of Parliament sometimes get the opportunity to honour history.

Such was the case yesterday when 10 Conservative MPs faced off against members of our military to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Imjin River games held in Korea.

We need to take our minds back to a place decades ago and thousands of miles from home, where Canadians again answered the call. Our soldiers were sent to repel a Communist invasion of South Korea. It was a bloody war; all wars are. In the end, Canada lost 516 of its best with thousands more wounded. To keep morale high, they played hockey on the frozen Imjin River.

Yesterday we recognized that history, playing on the frozen Rideau Canal. I was honoured to be part of the celebration, and yesterday we played to an 11-11 draw. It was not exactly a defensive gem, but the tie was the most appropriate ending. We honoured our military by playing Canada's game, just like they did in Korea so long ago.

Thanks to Senator Yonah Martin for organizing this special day. It was a thrill to hold the Imjin River Cup, knowing that participants from both teams will have their names engraved on it. Thanks again to our military for making us proud.

Syria
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, I just met with Syrian Canadians who put a human face on the unspeakable horrors and atrocities in Syria, where some 70,000 have died, thousands more been detained and disappeared, 2.5 million internally displaced and suffering, and more than 700,000 refugees, with the international community as a bystander to this horrific tragedy.

Canada has an important role in helping to alleviate the human suffering. We must immediately expedite family reunification and sponsorship for Syrian Canadians; enhance our humanitarian aid and ensure that it reaches those who desperately need it; and join the international effort to bring Assad before the International Criminal Court.

Most importantly, Canada must reaffirm the doctrine of the responsibility to protect. In a word, everything that we were told would happen if we intervened—more killing, sectarian strife, jihadist involvement—has happened, not because we intervened but because we did not intervene.

While the world dithers and delays, Syrians continue to die. The time for action is now, and Canada must take the lead.

Richard Pierpoint
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Chong Wellington—Halton Hills, ON

Mr. Speaker, in 1760 a 16-year old boy who would become a Canadian hero was captured in Senegal and sold as a slave to a British officer in New England.

When Americans rose against the Crown in 1775, Richard Pierpoint joined the Loyalists, serving in the Butler's Rangers Regiment in Fort Niagara, where hundreds of black volunteers fought for Canada in decisive battles like the battle for Queenston Heights.

During the War of 1812, Major-General Sir Isaac Brock approved Richard's request to form an all black army. More than 30 of the 100 free black men in Upper Canada joined the Colour Corps to protect Canada. With courage and under danger they built Fort Mississauga.

For his war contribution Richard was given 100 acres in Wellington County, next to my hometown of Fergus, where he lived until his death in 1837.

As we celebrate Black History Month, we all salute black heroes like Richard Pierpoint, who so long ago made great contributions to Canada to make us the nation we are today.

Government Priorities
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Paulina Ayala Honoré-Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, grassroots are at the heart of democracy. I have travelled across my riding since the beginning of the year, and many of my constituents have told me they are frustrated with the Conservatives.

I met with a number of seniors who no longer receive paper copies of their tax forms. If they do not have the Internet, too bad for them. The Conservatives are once again punishing our seniors. Shame on them.

I also met with a teacher who spoke about her desperation with regard to the EI reform. A number of these professionals work on call and, during the summer and fall, EI is often their only source of income. To maintain a knowledge-based society like ours, Canadians must be able to work in careers at which they excel, and not in jobs that do not correspond to their abilities.

This week, we are celebrating Hooked on School Days, and I want to pay tribute to the wonderful work our partners—in particular our teachers—do in our communities. They deserve to be able to educate the next generation of talented Canadians without worrying about losing their income when they are unemployed.

Airline Service in B.C.
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Bob Zimmer Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today with good news for northeastern British Columbians.

This afternoon WestJet's new regional air carrier, WestJet Encore, announced the first cities in Canada chosen for scheduled service this June, and British Columbia is the major beneficiary. Beginning in June, Fort St. John will benefit from service to and from Calgary and Vancouver.

Competitive air service is essential to keeping our economy moving and linking our communities and businesses to each other. That is why we worked so hard as a community to bring WestJet Encore to our city.

I have more good news. Passengers will be flying in brand new Bombardier Q400 planes manufactured right here in Canada.

I congratulate WestJet and the people of Fort St. John, as we worked so hard to bring this new service to our area. On behalf of all British Columbia MPs, I thank WestJet Encore and welcome it to beautiful British Columbia.

Wind Power
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Nepean—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, the proposed wind farm in North Gower, Ontario would place industrial turbines within 800 metres of some family dwellings. With increasing reports of health problems and the need for properly designed clinical research, it only makes sense to put the project on hold until Health Canada completes its study.

That is why I have been working with Ms. Jane Wilson and other concerned citizens to urge a moratorium.

Yesterday I was pleased to hear the Minister of Health for the federal government announce the revised research design for the study. Initially, the revised study will target 2,000 homes near wind turbine projects located across Canada.

We must make our decisions based on science and research, not blind ideology. To that end, I join with the residents of North Gower in asking the province to impose a moratorium on this project until Health Canada can finish its important work.

Employment in Windsor
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Brian Masse Windsor West, ON

Mr. Speaker, a recent report indicates that my community of Windsor lost over 20,000 jobs between 2006 and 2010.

Despite the Conservatives' claims to create jobs, they have again decided to slash more services and jobs. In fact, their action plan is failing Canadian families.

They moved our CBSA headquarters from the busiest border in Canada, laying off dozens, and slashed 40-plus Service Canada positions. Sixteen more jobs disappeared at the Canadian consulate in Detroit, and now they have even decided to close our Veterans Affairs office, reaching a new low.

Sadly, these actions take place with little to no consultation. Now Canada Post has announced the sacking of 80 positions in its decision to close the Walker sorting plant and historic Olde Sandwich Towne post office. Ironically, we just celebrated the War of 1812 and this post office is ground zero to some of the greatest moments in Canadian history.

All of these cuts without community consultation create even more job losses as individuals and businesses lose valuable and efficient services.

The next time the Conservatives want to spend millions on advertising their failures, why not can the commercials and keep services Canadian families want?

Ethics
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Erin O'Toole Durham, ON

Mr. Speaker, members of Parliament have the extraordinary privilege of unfettered free speech in this chamber. However, they also have the important obligation to speak responsibly when they leave the House of Commons.

The hon. member for Winnipeg Centre is well aware of this responsibility, which is why it is troubling that the member created a legal defence fund to solicit donations to help offset the costs of a defamation lawsuit brought against him for his comments outside of the House. The media has reported that the member received a $10,000 donation to the fund from a union, and the website soliciting donations bears all the hallmarks of a political fundraising website.

Canadians need to know that donations from corporations and unions, which are precluded by the Canada Elections Act, cannot be funnelled into a fund used to defray the costs of a legal matter involving a politician. Canadians also deserve to know the source or amounts of these donations.

Accordingly, I have asked the ethics commissioner to examine this practice and the methods employed by the member for Winnipeg Centre.

Employment Insurance
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Claude Patry Jonquière—Alma, QC

Mr. Speaker, the people of Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean were already having a lot of problems with the employment insurance program even before the reforms were implemented.

Instead of addressing the program's irritants, the current government is making an already very difficult situation even worse.

I would like to take the opportunity today to thank Sylvain Bergeron, of ASTUCE, and France Simard, of Mouvement action chômage, two regional organizations that have been standing up for the rights of the unemployed for years.

The services they provide to our communities, our workers, our families and the most vulnerable are vitally important, and their efforts are very much appreciated.

I would also like to encourage people to participate in the activities being organized to condemn the changes to employment insurance that hurt Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean. There will also be days of action, with activities taking place in front of the Service Canada offices at Racine Street tomorrow, February 12, and in downtown Kénogami on Saturday morning, February 16.

Mobilize against employment insurance.

Lebanon
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Jacques Gourde Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière, QC

Mr. Speaker, some prominent Bloc Québécois members, particularly the hon. member for Ahuntsic, held a press conference in Montreal this morning calling on the federal government to allow a direct air link between Montreal and Beirut, Lebanon.

I rise here today to convey our government's position, which is crystal clear: we have no plans for this kind of direct link anytime soon.

In fact, we still have some serious concerns about cargo and passenger security at the airport in Beirut, especially in light of the media reports indicating that dangerous organizations are at work at that airport. The activities of these organizations fly in the face of Canada's interests and values.

As MPs, the safety of all Canadians should remain our top priority. It is unfortunate that the Bloc Québécois decided to disregard security concerns in a malicious attempt to score political points.

Gérard Asselin
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Louis Plamondon Bas-Richelieu—Nicolet—Bécancour, QC

Mr. Speaker, last Saturday our former colleague, Gérard Asselin, passed away. He died of complications from surgery he had in December to control the insidious cancer he was battling.

A passionate man, he was truly committed to his region, which he represented from 1993 to 2011. After working for more than 30 years for the well-being of his city and his region, he wanted to enjoy life. He wanted to travel and spend time with his family.

We will remember him for his hard work and his ability to get things done. And we will never forget his fiery character, his colourful expressions and his unceasing defence of Quebec's interests.

Today, we share his family's pain and we offer them our sincere condolences on behalf of the Bloc Québécois.

Good-bye Gérard. Quebec is forever in your debt.