House of Commons Hansard #17 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was appointments.


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1:35 p.m.

Halifax West Nova Scotia


Geoff Regan LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Madam Speaker, I listened with interest to the speech by the hon. member. I find it interesting that the Bloc Quebecois did not choose to talk about the Kyoto protocol today or other issues that have consistently come up during question period recently, or issues of particular interest to Quebec.

How is it that sovereignists have decided that it would be possible to improve the workings of the federation, of Canada, of the House of Commons, of Parliament? Does that not show their confidence in Canada and in our institutions? Apparently yes.

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1:35 p.m.


Suzanne Tremblay Bloc Rimouski-Neigette-Et-La Mitis, QC

Madam Speaker, the Prime Minister must be very sorry that he has to wait until December 31 to make changes to the parliamentary secretary roster, because it must not be easy to work with someone so out of touch with reality.

The parliamentary secretary does not understand the purpose of our motion. He should know that we are here to learn how to run a country. We are not ashamed of that. We are learning how to run a country because, one day, we will have our own country in Quebec. Being here today, because we have been democratically chosen by the people to represent them here, gives us the opportunity to learn how to run a country and, one day, we will show him that he does not know how it is done.

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1:35 p.m.


Robert Lanctôt Bloc Châteauguay, QC

Madam Speaker, as you know, our motion today—with the amendment moved by our colleague, the hon. member for Mercier, of course—is very comprehensive, but it is quite different from what we are hearing from the members opposite.

It is essentially designed to enforce a legislative mechanism that recognizes our role as parliamentarians here in the House. Accordingly, the motion put forward by the Bloc Quebecois, as well as the amendments, clearly reaffirm the mandate that we have been given by the citizens of Quebec and Canada.

We believe that such a review process will result in an enhanced appreciation of our role here, on behalf of the constituents in our ridings.

It has become obvious, and urgent, specifically since scandals keep popping up, that we must act with transparency in order to win over the confidence the population. We are not talking about reinventing the wheel, simply letting it be known that cronies and political friends can no longer call all the shots.

We are talking about transparency in how the government operates. We remain cautious. We have seen some people now calling for increased transparency; yet a few years ago, these same people voted against a similar motion to designate an independent ethics counsellor. How are people supposed to believe in a government that makes no bones about rewarding its friends on our tab?

What is the current procedure for order in council appointments? It is up to the governor in council, upon the recommendation of the Privy Council, to make the aforementioned appointments. There are close to 3,500 positions that are filled this way.

Among these are positions of federal judges, heads of posts abroad, deputy ministers, directors and members of organizations, chief executive officers and directors of Crown corporations, and returning officers.

Their varied responsibilities range from quasi-legal decisions to the administration of large corporations, to recommendations on socio-economic development.

The recommendations for appointments come from a number of sources, including the worlds of politics, business, academia, the senior public service and interest groups. In addition, for most of the term appointments, competent candidates are recruited through public notices appearing in the Canada Gazette .

The head of the organization concerned, the minister's office, the department itself, the Director of Appointments in the PMO, the Management Priorities and Senior Personnel Secretariat, the Office of the Ethics Counsellor, the Assistant Clerk of the Privy Council, all have a part to play in Governor in Council appointments.

The heads of organizations or chairmen of the board in the case of crown corporations, consult the minister responsible on the appointments required within their organization, and share with him or her their opinion on the desired qualifications for the future members.

In addition, these administrators make recommendations on appointment renewals for outgoing members. I must also point out that they also present the minister responsible with a list of requirements for positions that are vacant or about to become vacant.

Given that these heads of organizations are responsible for the efficient running of their organization, they have a duty to keep the minister responsible reformed of all changes that occur in their membership as the result of resignations.

They must also inform the minister responsible of any situation liable to become sensitive or controversial in connection with Governor in Council appointments within their organization. Finally, they are required to assess the performance of appointees.

The staff of the designated department support the minister in formulating appointment recommendations by preparing the necessary documentation for submission to the Governor in Council.

The appointment director gives political advice to the Prime Minister concerning appointments. Ministers consult the office of the director to draft recommendations in this respect.

Those appointed by order in council must carry out their duties in the public best interest. Their impartiality must be beyond reproach.

The Standing Orders of the House of Commons provide that the House of Commons standing committees, which are made up of members from every political party, have the power to review every non-judicial appointment made by the government of Canada. As we saw, this is not done automatically. It only happens when a committee decides to do it.

However, it is important to note that the tabling of an order in council does not prevent an appointee from assuming his or her responsibilities in the organization to which he or she was appointed. The committee does not have a veto over these appointments.

Asking that some of these appointments be reviewed by the appropriate House committee is normal and highly desirable. It is the broader problem of the government's transparency which led us to move this motion and of course the amendment too. It must be remembered that democracy becomes meaningless and powerless when it lacks transparency.

Through this motion, the Bloc Quebecois is proposing specific goals to make the government transparent.

First, committee review ensures transparency. Thus, parliamentarians will exercise their mandate openly and publicly, in turn helping to establish a clear and non-partisan approach.

Second, the purpose of committee review is to allow Parliament to have a say. This has to do with our role as elected representatives. We were all elected. This means that we have a mandate as representatives before a legislative assembly. We are trying here to fulfill our mandate with regard to visibility.

Third, there are committee reviews so that the appointees know that they owe their position not only to the Prime Minister, but to all Canadians and Quebeckers.

Fourth, there are committee reviews to make sure that appointments are not used to reward past members and former friends. This goal is also aimed at retired elected officials or those who served the Prime Minister well.

Fifth, committee reviews send the message that there is indeed a democratic deficit in the Parliament of Canada.

Last, with committee reviews we will see whether certain people who are promoting the same ideas will be true to their words. I will not name any name, but I think we all know whom I am talking about.

There is a temptation, of course, to hide behind a veil of secrecy, which makes it easier to act more freely without the need for explanations. We have to remember, however, that we live in a democracy which is rooted in freedom.

Freedom implicitly and explicitly includes knowledge. We have the right to know about the appointment process and the qualifications of those who will eventually be chosen to carry out the duties the public assigns to them.

Ensuring transparency does not mean violating the rights of the candidates, but it does involve reviewing their appointments. The process must be crystal clear. If it is, then appointees will be selected according to their qualifications and experience, and not their political connections.

The public is right to demand transparency. As the Auditor General stated when he tabled his report on February 6, 2001:

Crown corporations account for a significant portion of government activity and play a key role in achieving public policy. It is critical that, as public sector bodies, they be governed well if taxpayers' money is to be well spent.

People take a cynical view of what happens here and we have the obligation and duty to correct a situation which has gone on for too long.

Questionable appointments should not be considered normal. This has to stop. As parliamentarians, we need to act and implement specific measures to put things right again.

What we have to look for from now on is qualified appointees. This would help to boost the image of parliamentarians and justify today's debate.

I see that my time has run out.

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1:45 p.m.


Antoine Dubé Bloc Lévis-Et-Chutes-De-La-Chaudière, QC

Madam Speaker, I would like to congratulate my colleague from Châteauguay for the excellent speech he just made. We see that his training as a lawyer serves him well. He has done a good job of covering all the aspects of the issue.

However, when we use the legal terminology, we can sometimes confuse people who are not used to these issues. I think here about the terms that we often use, such as the governor in council. I would like to give my colleague the opportunity to explain that the position of governor in council is controlled by a person. I would like him to tell me who this person is.

I would also like him to indicate to me whether he thinks that it is right and democratic, as other colleagues of the Bloc Quebecois think, that this person has way too many powers in his hands. In fact, this person has the power to appoint indirectly and directly—because he is the one with the authority—3,500 people.

I would simply like to point out something that just happened at noon, that is a few hours ago, I believe. The Board of Internal Economy has finally agreed with the proposal of holding a secret vote for chairs and vice-chairs of committees, and I am happy about this.

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1:50 p.m.


Robert Lanctôt Bloc Châteauguay, QC

Mr. Speaker, of course I want to thank the hon. member for Lévis-et-Chutes-de-la-Chaudière. It is very important that people clearly understand the issue.

Earlier, I explained the appointment process for the governor in council, where those who are appointed to certain positions come from and who gives advice to ministers. I also explained how all this takes place. However, the decision is made—as we know—in the Prime Minister's office. It is the Prime Minister himself who decides. We are talking here about 3,500 positions.

Imagine the number of important people appointed to such prestigious positions as heads of crown corporations, embassies and so on. I listed several of them earlier. This is unbelievable. A number of administrators are also appointed to head foundations.

Imagine all the important positions for which these people practically do not have to demonstrate their competence and experience to a transparent House committee made up of members representing Parliament.

Voters absolutely want to know what appointees do. The best example is the case of the current Ambassador to Denmark, Mr. Gagliano. It is unbelievable that, after the sponsorship scandal that we condemned in this House, he was appointed Ambassador to Denmark, so that he would no longer be accountable. His answers were obviously very vague and, often, the answers came from other people. So, this individual was appointed Ambassador to Denmark without our being able to consider his qualifications

This is just an example and people took note of this situation. It became a public matter and the media talked about it. In fact, we are still talking about it, because the problems relating to the sponsorship program are not resolved. We are still looking at a number of dubious aspects of this program and of the contracts that were awarded.

This is but one position and we are talking about 3,500 positions. As regards the motion of the hon. member for Charlesbourg—Jacques-Cartier, and the amendment of the hon. member for Mercier, we must, before an appointment can take effect, be able to take a look at the competence and experience of those whom we want to appoint to key and very influential positions all across Canada.

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1:50 p.m.


Richard Marceau Bloc Charlesbourg—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Madam Speaker, my colleague from Châteauguay is a highly skilled lawyer, a member of the Barreau du Québec. He knows full well that the legislator does not talk needlessly.

This morning, the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons was saying that the motion moved this morning by the Bloc was redundant because appearance before a committee was automatic. He referred us, among other things, to Standing Order 111. However, when we look at Standing Order 111, we wee that “the committee shall if it deems appropriate, call”. In section (2), it says: “if it should call an appointee”, thus including the conditional in the Standing Order.

What does my colleague think about the government House leader's argument that this is automatic, when the Standing Order makes it conditional? Does the government House leader's argument make sense?

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1:55 p.m.


Robert Lanctôt Bloc Châteauguay, QC

Madam Speaker, it does not make any sense. My colleague just read it. One does not need a master's degree in law to know that the conditional is about conditions. Hence, as a condition, we say that, if something happens, “we will do this”. This is not necessary and automatic.

It is thus urgent and important that there be immediate transparency on an issue such as this one. We are talking about 3,500 high level positions. It is not simply the Prime Minister of Canada who should decide about these positions. There must absolutely be some transparency for democracy and freedom to exist in this country. The decision about such influential positions must be removed from the Prime Minister's hands.

What I want to say to my colleague is that the response given by the government House leader shows one thing: either he has not read the motion and the amendment moved by the Bloc Quebecois, or he does not know verbs in the conditional or the definition of the word “condition”. When we say that all this must—

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1:55 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bakopanos)

I am sorry to interrupt the hon. member, but we must now proceed to statements by members.

Arts and CultureStatements by Members

1:55 p.m.


Sarmite Bulte Liberal Parkdale—High Park, ON

Madam Speaker, last night in Toronto, the Elinore and Lou SiminovitchPrize for theatre was awarded to Montreal dramaturge Carole Fréchette.

This prestigious award goes along with a cheque for $75,000 for Ms. Fréchette and another for $25,000 for her protegée, the dramaturge Geneviève Billette.

The award was designed to be divided in this way by its founders, in order to recognize the great importance of mentoring.

We should applaud this support for mentoring and we should rejoice in the breadth and depth of the exceptional playwrights we have gracing the cultural life of our country; playwrights like Carole Fréchette.

I would also like to congratulate three of my constituents: Don Hannah, Daniel MacIvor and Jason Sherman, on being nominated for this award this year.

I also extend my congratulations to the creators of this fine prize. In particular let me salute Mrs. Elizabeth Comper who chairs the founder's committee.

Post-Secondary EducationStatements by Members

1:55 p.m.


Andrew Telegdi Liberal Kitchener—Waterloo, ON

Madam Speaker, Canadians with modest or middle level incomes are increasingly challenged to help finance their children's higher education. Steep tuition increases have greatly outstripped wage growth in the past decade and has resulted in more and more qualified students being unable to get a post-secondary education. This is a loss we cannot afford.

We live in a knowledge based economy. Canada needs more graduates equipped with cutting edge skills and learning vital to the growth of our domestic economy and to the success of Canadian business in the global marketplace.

Today students need larger loans to cover tuition fee increases and the impact of inflation on their cost of living. We must reduce the financial barriers to post-secondary education. To this end, I urge the government to increase the Canada student loan program maximum weekly loan limit and provide new debt reducing mechanisms to help students shoulder the burden of increased debt.

Kids for A CureStatements by Members

1:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Rajotte Canadian Alliance Edmonton Southwest, AB

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise today and honour the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation's first Kids for a Cure Day here on Parliament Hill.

Today 40 children from across Canada living with Type I juvenile diabetes will meet with members of Parliament to share their experiences as well as their hopes for a cure. These youngsters will explain how their reliance upon insulin affects their lives and will stress the need for decision makers to support innovative research advances, allowing the opportunity for research that could potentially lead to a cure.

Diabetes is a very serious disease, as we all know, and a leading cause of death in Canada. Juvenile diabetes affects more than 200,000 Canadians who require daily insulin injections just to live.

I ask all members to join with me and the Kids for a Cure in calling upon Parliament to support research such as the Edmonton protocol and beta cell replacement, so that we may finally vanquish this disease.

Saint-Hyacinthe Faculty of Veterinary MedicineStatements by Members

1:55 p.m.


Diane St-Jacques Liberal Shefford, QC

Madam Speaker, I was informed this past April by students in my riding of a serious problem being experienced by the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the Université de Montréal, located in Saint-Hyacinthe.

At a Quebec caucus last spring, I brought this to the attention of my colleagues and also wrote all Liberal MPs to inform them of the situation, since it is likely to occur in the three other faculties of vetinary medicine before long.

I wrote to several ministers to request their prompt intervention. In August, I met with Faculty Dean Dr. Raymond Roy, who fears the worst for his faculty. The clock is ticking. December 2003 is the deadline and he have not yet obtained the financial support to guarantee continuation of the accreditation of his faculty.

Given the urgency of reinvestment, I am begging the government to act with all possible haste in this matter. Food safety, the health of Canadians, and our world reputation are at stake. We must avoid a repetition of the crisis that has been experienced by European farmers and consumers.

National DefenceStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rob Anders Canadian Alliance Calgary West, AB

Madam Speaker, there will always be a debate over where taxpayer money is best spent. That said, it has become obvious to me, my colleagues on this side of the House and now even members of the government's own benches that the Canadian Forces need more money. Everyone but the Prime Minister agrees.

It is that simple message which was reinforced today at a press conference by Corrie Adolph, president of Canadians for Military Preparedness. She heads a grassroots organization of regular Canadians fighting for increased funding for our troops. Their goal is to change government policy by informing Canadians about the issues and by explaining how the problems facing the military affect us all.

They have started a petition calling for increased funding to the military, with a goal of one million signatories. Canadians will sign this petition because the government is putting our troops in danger. The government is letting down our allies and is putting the safety of ordinary Canadians at risk.

Kyoto ProtocolStatements by Members

2 p.m.


Karen Kraft Sloan Liberal York North, ON

Madam Speaker, contrary to what the Kyoto naysayers may think, it is Mother Nature who will have the final say on Kyoto. Alberta Environment Minister Taylor and Premier Klein may come to understand this obvious point if they consulted their own experts.

On October 24 Premier Klein received a letter from Professor David Schindler, Canada's most eminent water ecologist, and 56 other Albertan scientists inviting the premier to attend a Kyoto 101 briefing. The roaring silence that has ensued suggests that the province prefers its policy of not consulting its own experts or its own citizens, preferring instead to spend money, public money, attacking the protocol.

This do-nothing strategy will ensure that the impacts of climate change costs to Alberta will be massive. The costs of climate change are not simply regional in scope, they are pan-Canadian and they are global.

Action must be taken now. A lesson from Premier Klein's most qualified experts would teach him this.

Women's History MonthStatements by Members

October 29th, 2002 / 2 p.m.


Carolyn Parrish Liberal Mississauga Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, October is Women's History Month. This year's theme is Women and Sport--Champions Forever. I would like to take this opportunity to celebrate the achievements of Nancy Greene Raine, declared Canada's female athlete of the 20th century.

Nancy Greene participated in three winter Olympics in Alpine skiing's slolam and giant slolam events and won gold and silver medals in 1968 in Grenoble, France. Her success continued as she won the World Cup title two years consecutively in 1967 and 1968. In fact, Nancy Greene was the inspiration for one personally disastrous attempt at downhill skiing, which I shall never forget.

Not only a great athlete, Nancy helped to develop the Nancy Greene ski league and entry level racing program for young children and has made significant contributions to the development of amateur sport in Canada.

Nancy and her husband, Al, have been instrumental in the development of the Whistler Blackcomb ski resort and are currently helping to develop the Sun Peaks ski resort in British Columbia.

I would like to congratulate Nancy Greene on her great accomplishments as an athlete, coach, businesswoman and mother.

Social HousingStatements by Members

2 p.m.


Diane Bourgeois Bloc Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, as we speak, the Front populaire en réaménagement urbain de Montréal, in conjunction with the Canadian networks, is holding a rally on Parliament Hill, calling for an appropriate response to the urgent social housing needs of the population.

It is clear that the federal government is continuing to drive the people of Canada, and the people of Quebec in particular, into poverty by providing blatantly inadequate funding to meet glaring housing needs.

Now that the government is investing again in affordable housing, the Bloc Quebecois believes it is imperative that it deal with the issue of social housing, which concerns the most disadvantaged families.

The Bloc Quebecois joins all the representatives in demanding further investment, and reminds the federal government of its duty, responsibility and commitments to combat poverty and to meet the basic housing needs of the public.

Queens's Jubilee MedalStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.


David Pratt Liberal Nepean—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, last night I had the honour of presenting 20 of my constituents, from former politicians to local business leaders, from volunteers to veterans, with a much deserved Queen's Jubilee Medal.

Presenting these 20 community leaders with this special award was an opportunity to thank them for their years of service and contributions to our community and to Canada.

The medal recipients were: Mr. Al Bouwers; Mr. Paul Bradley; Major Deanna Marie Brasseur; Mr. Thomas Brownley; Mr. Thomas Jordan Clark; Ms. Iris Craig; Mr. Jules Deschenes; Mr. Ben Franklin; former MP Beryl Gaffney; Master Tae Eun Lee; Major Richard K. Malott; Mrs. Vera Mitchell; Mr. Thomas O'Neill; Mr. Peter Partner; Mrs. Margitha Partner; Mr. James Peaker; Mrs. Katherine Pitcher; Mr. E. Franklin Pope; Mr. Edward Smith; and former MP Bill Tupper.

I congratulate all these community leaders and thank them once again on behalf of the people of Nepean--Carleton.

Chinese CanadiansStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Moore Canadian Alliance Port Moody—Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, today there was a rally by citizens who feel that the federal government has ignored their calls for a just acknowledgment of past wrongs. These citizens will be calling for an acknowledgment that the imposition of punitive payments, referred to as Chinese head taxes, from 1885 to 1923 was wrong.

We must recognize the contributions of Chinese Canadians in building our nation since before the time of Confederation, particularly in the creation of my home province of British Columbia.

We must also recognize that the introduction and imposition of Chinese head taxes was unjust. They caused a great deal of particular economic and human harm to Chinese Canadians, families and communities. They were also contrary to the Canadian value and ethic of equality before the law.

The wrongs of the past, as much as the great accomplishments that we share, are part of our common history. Thus, I encourage the government to recognize the wrongs of the past so that the Chinese community and all Canadians can have a prosperous and united future together.

HealthStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.


Karen Redman Liberal Kitchener Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Secretary of State for Amateur Sport, the Minister of Health, Chatelaine magazine, and the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women in Sport and Physical Activity, I would like to invite all members to participate in an On the Move Walking Club on Parliament Hill, Wednesday, October 30 at 1:15 p.m.

This two kilometre walk will begin and end at the Centennial Flame and seeks to raise awareness of On the Move Walking Clubs which encourage women to walk for fitness and improve their health. Walking remains a popular and practical activity among Canadian women, and the combination of physical activity and proper nutrition can result in enormous health benefits and reduce the risk of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, osteoporosis, stroke, depression and colon cancer.

On the Move Walking Clubs are a timely and valuable health initiative and we encourage all to join in. We hope to see a large turnout tomorrow.

BrazilStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.


Svend Robinson NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, last Sunday the people of Brazil elected Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva as their president.

The election of Lula, a democratic socialist and leader of the PT or Workers' Party in the fifth largest democracy in the world of 175 million people, gives great hope to the poor, landless and marginalized people of Brazil. Lula has pledged to build a country that has more justice, brotherhood and solidarity. He has put fighting poverty at the top of his agenda. His party, along with social movements, held a people's plebiscite last month in which 10 million people voted 85% against the FTAA. Lula faces huge challenges as the first left wing president in Brazil's history.

My colleagues and I in the New Democratic Party wish to congratulate him and his party on this historic victory. As Lula said “hope won over fear”. Agora é Lula. Lula lá.

Agropur Plant in ChambordStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.


Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, since yesterday, workers and citizens of Chambord have been occupying the Agropur plant to prevent this business that has closed from dismantling plant equipment.

Until recently, this plant was processing millions of litres of locally produced milk. As a result of an administrative decision, all processing activities were transferred outside the Lac-Saint-Jean region.

A region such as ours relies for its existence on its capacity to process locally the raw materials it produces. What Agropur did in the case of the Chambord plant shows that resource regions are being gutted to benefit large centres.

Enough is enough. The Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean will not fall once again victim to a company which, following a takeover, will take milk produced in our region and process it elsewhere.

I wholeheartedly support the people who are occupying the Agropur plant in Chambord. Agropur must not be allowed to take away from us what is ours.

DiabetesStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.


R. John Efford Liberal Bonavista—Trinity—Conception, NL

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today and ask the House to join me in recognizing the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation's Kids for a Cure Lobby Day on Parliament Hill and the need for government policies that will cure juvenile diabetes. Forty children with juvenile Type 1 diabetes, from all regions of Canada, will meet with members of Parliament to share their experiences.

This morning I met with three of these young people, Zachary McCaskill, Mark Hosak and Logan Wright, who explained to me how their reliance upon insulin affects their lives. They stressed the need for decision-makers to support innovative research advances.

Juvenile diabetes is a serious disease affecting more than 200,000 Canadians who require daily insulin injections to live. Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure, non-traumatic amputations, adult blindness, stroke, heart attacks and a leading cause of death in Canada. Over 2 million Canadians suffer from diabetes.

I ask the House to join me in sharing our hope and excitement that ongoing support for research will discover a cure for diabetes.

DiabetesStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, I too would like to add our voice of support for the more than 200,000 Canadians who live with juvenile diabetes, a disease that requires them to take insulin. As a nation we need to facilitate the efforts of medical practitioners and researchers in their efforts to find a cure. The pain and suffering of patients with both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes cannot be overstated. The work of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation as well as the Canadian Diabetes Foundation puts a human face on these statistics.

Today, along with the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, over 40 children from across the country are here in Ottawa to meet with MPs, sharing their experiences of living with this disease. The foundation's Kids for a Cure will help encourage members of all parties to engage in this cause and work collectively. The Edmonton protocol, from the University of Alberta, as well as the work being done at McGill University, has provided hope for medical breakthroughs.

On behalf of my colleagues in the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada and all members, I wish to express a welcome and our support for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Man Booker PrizeStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.


Carole-Marie Allard Liberal Laval East, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Yann Martel for winning the coveted Man Booker Prize on October 24 for his book Life of Pi . The prize is awarded for the best work of fiction. It is one of the most prestigious literary prizes in the world and symbolizes the ultimate recognition of a work.

After having travelled for several years throughout Europe and Canada, Yann Martel studied philosophy at Trent University and began writing. His second novel, Life of Pi , is a story of adventure and a reflection on religion and the nature of animals, the two-footed, and the four-footed kind. According to Martel, “it is a story that will make you believe in God, or question your lack of faith”.

Canada remains a force to be contended with in the field of literature throughout the world. We are proud of our authors and of all of our artists.

DiwaliStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Leon Benoit Canadian Alliance Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the South Asians in Ontario Association I rise today to extend my personal invitation to all members of the House to attend the Diwali celebration tonight on Parliament Hill in Room 200, West Block.

The Diwali festival of lights is celebrated by many members of the South Asian community around the world. It commemorates the return of Lord Rama to his kingdom after completing 14 years in exile. Streets and homes are lighted with rows of lights. The festival symbolizes the victory of righteousness over evil and of light over darkness. Hindus and others join their families and friends in celebrating it with prayers, sweets, exchanges of gifts and fireworks. This occasion also marks the beginning of the Hindu new year.

The event is being celebrated in Room 200, West Block, tonight at 6:30 or right after the votes. I encourage all members to attend this celebration with our Diwali friends.