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House of Commons Hansard #196 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was wildlife.

Topics

Parliamentary Confederation of the AmericasStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Bloc

Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral Bloc Laval Centre, QC

Madam Speaker, I wish to draw the attention of the House to the presence today on the Hill of the President of the Parliamentary Confederation of the Americas, Laura Pavòn Jaramillo. Now a representative of the Federal Congress of Mexico, she was formerly a representative of the Congress of the State of Mexico, mayor of Toluca, senator of the Republic, and president of the Senate.

Ms. Pavòn Jaramillo is the first woman to chair COPA, a permanent and automous forum of parliamentary assemblies of unitary, federal and federated states, regional parliaments and interparliamentary organizations of the Americas

COPA encourages further exploration of and follow-up to the discussions at the summits of the Americas and in other forums. Here in this country, a group of friends of COPA has just been formed. I encourage all members of the House to join it.

Canadian Forces DayStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

David Pratt Liberal Nepean—Carleton, ON

Madam Speaker, on April 25 the House unanimously passed a motion to proclaim the first Sunday in June as Canadian Forces Day. This Sunday, June 2, marks the first official Canadian Forces Day.

The purpose of this day is to recognize the tremendous contribution made by the Canadian forces both at home and abroad. I was delighted to see that one of the first official statements by our new defence minister was to draw attention to Canadian Forces Day, to encourage citizens to celebrate the contributions of our military, both regular and reserve forces, and to encourage local communities to get involved. Because this motion was passed just a few short weeks ago this year's Canadian Forces Day activities will likely be fairly modest.

I am pleased with the comments by our new minister that “in the next and following years, the first Sunday in June will become the focus for better developed plans to celebrate this wonderful day.”

Foreign AffairsStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian Alliance Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

Madam Speaker, Taiwan is a democracy which respects the rule of law. Its people enjoy true freedom of speech, freedom of the press and freedom of religion. Taiwan is one of Canada's important trading partners and its free market economy provides its citizens with a relatively high standard of living.

Yet the federal Liberals ban Taiwanese cabinet ministers and certain Taiwanese officials from entering our country. Just last year the government denied the Taiwanese health minister the right to visit our country. Taiwan's minister of foreign affairs is banned by the federal Liberals from entering Canada. While we recognize the importance of good relations with China and the importance of developing a free market system there, surely allowing Taiwanese cabinet ministers to visit Canada should not be a hindrance to our other relations.

We are not imposing our own views on the one China policy between Taiwan and mainland China. What signal do we send to the world when we deny Taiwanese democratic representatives the right to visit Canada? We allow supporters of communism to visit our country. We should not slam the door on those who support democracy.

Atlantic CanadaStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Andy Scott Liberal Fredericton, NB

Mr. Speaker, regardless of political affiliation and province, business persons, trade unionists, academics, public servants, community activists, athletes, and artists from Atlantic Canada have come together over the past three days in a unified response to the opposition leader's divisive and baseless comments about our region.

Early in the last century Atlantic Canadians sacrificed a north-south Atlantic trade based economy in the interest of building an east-west nation. Since then, whether during war, depression, drought, or providing skilled labour throughout Canada, Atlantic Canadians have been there. We are anything but defeatist.

I join editorialists and civic leaders from across our region and call on the Leader of the Opposition to apologize.

Canadian Forces DayStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

NDP

Wendy Lill NDP Dartmouth, NS

Mr. Speaker, on April 25 the House of Commons proclaimed the first Sunday in June as Canadian Forces Day in recognition of the great contribution by the Canadian forces both at home and abroad in our NATO and Norad commitments, humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, search and rescue, peacekeeping and peace support operations.

Over the years I have been honoured to be part of other special days spent with veterans and peacekeepers who carry the scars of their struggle for democracy within their bodies and minds, and with the families on the Halifax jetty as they have said hello and goodbye to their loved ones leaving for tours of duty in a violent world.

I was present at the funeral for Nathan Smith, one of our Princess Pats killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan. He was a young man who loved soldiering, loved his life and country, and the values of freedom and justice which he held deep in his soul.

Canadian Forces Day will join Remembrance Day, D-Day and the many other days of the year that we remember to thank the brave and selfless men and women for their love and loyalty to this great country.

Claudette CarbonneauStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Bloc

Jocelyne Girard-Bujold Bloc Jonquière, QC

Mr. Speaker, I wish to congratulate Claudette Carbonneau on her election yesterday as 13th president of the Confédération des syndicats nationaux. Ms. Carbonneau, who held the position of vice-president for 11 years, made history by becoming the first woman to lead the second largest labour federation in Quebec.

Her tireless commitment to the union movement and her willingness to serve the CSN have won her the trust of members. There is no doubt that her talents as a negotiator and unifying force will breathe new life into the federation.

I wish to assure the new president that the Bloc Quebecois will maintain its close co-operation in the defence of the rights of Quebec's workers.

On behalf of my colleagues, I congratulate Ms. Carbonneau and wish her the best of luck in her new duties as president of the CSN.

BilingualismStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Raymonde Folco Liberal Laval West, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Alliance has never been a national party, and that is even more obvious than usual today.

The Alliance is demonstrating a total lack of knowledge of Canadian reality. Not only do they insult Atlantic Canadians but they also deny the presence of two majority languages in Canada.

The leader of the Alliance associates biligualism with a religion, denouncing it, to quote his own words, as a “god that failed”. He goes on to say “Canada is not a bilingual country. In fact it is less bilingual today than it has ever been”.

The people of Canada who are in minority language situations are totally outraged by this. The Alliance's policy is aimed at dividing our country.

Since the Liberals adopted their bilingualism policy, the situation of minority language communities has improved a great deal. Members of these communities are now able to live in their language, particularly because access to services and to education has been greatly improved.

We on this side of the House respect all Canadians regardless of where they live and, particularly, what language they speak—

BilingualismStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Brandon—Souris.

AgricultureStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Rick Borotsik Progressive Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the minister of agriculture appeared before the agriculture committee. Despite our best efforts to get a commitment for additional support for agriculture, there was no commitment forthcoming.

He did indicate there would be another ad hoc program, a feeble attempt to offset the U.S. farm bill. What he did not, could not, or would not tell us is how much it would be, when it would be forthcoming, and how it would be distributed. This is probably because the last time he promised a program he was blindsided by the Prime Minister. He promised $900 million and only delivered $500 million.

Another serious issue is how Canadian agriculture will be affected by country of origin labelling now proposed in the U.S. farm bill. At the meeting yesterday the minister had at best count about 50 members of his ministerial and departmental staff there.

When I asked the question if they knew how this would impact Canadian producers, the answer was that they knew how it would affect American producers but not Canadian producers. Does the minister need to hire another staff member to give us the answer regarding Canadian producers?

Baltic StatesStatements By Members

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Sarmite Bulte Liberal Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, on Wednesday, May 22 I had the honour to co-host the 25th annual Baltic evening on Parliament Hill.

This multicultural event began in 1973 when members of the Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian communities in Canada invited parliamentarians and other representatives of government to participate in the launch of Toronto based Estonian author Arved Viirlaid's internationally acclaimed book Graves Without Crosses . The book depicts the tragic experience of the Baltic nations during and after World War II.

After 1973 the Baltic evening evolved into a regular event sponsored by the Baltic federation and it came to be a reassertion of Canada's non recognition of the illegal Soviet occupation of the Baltic states and the significant role played by Baltic Canadians in the economic and cultural life of Canada.

I would like to congratulate the Baltic Federation in Canada on their 25th anniversary of this unique event.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, in reference to the government sponsorship program, the Prime Minister said that a few million dollars may have been stolen in the process. He said that this corruption could be justified in the name of Canadian unity.

Does the Prime Minister really believe that corruption helps the federalist cause in Quebec?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Infrastructure and Crown Corporations

Mr. Speaker, once again, this is not true. The Prime Minister did not say this. He simply said the same thing that he has said several times in the House of Commons.

Which is, that if there were abuses, those responsible would be brought to justice. In the end, if administrative changes to the sponsorship program are called for, we will certainly make them. If there are people who have committed crimes, they will be held responsible.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister went much farther than he went in this Chamber. Last night he said “a few million dollars might have been stolen in the process”. He went on to say that this was done in the name of national unity and therefore he would never apologize for it.

The Prime Minister has admitted corruption in his government. Is the reason we have this corruption that at the highest levels of the government the Prime Minister is prepared to tolerate it if it serves his political objectives?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Infrastructure and Crown Corporations

Mr. Speaker, it is patently absurd to respond to a question so full of falsehoods. However there is no question that the Prime Minister has said that his first priority is the unity of this country.

If the day ever comes that the Leader of the Opposition becomes Prime Minister of Canada I think we know from his recent statements what he would do about the unity of this country. He would destroy it.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, this country would be a lot more unified if every region had equal economic opportunity and were not dependent on ridiculous programs.

Yesterday the Prime Minister threatened to get back at anyone, cabinet ministers, caucus colleagues or senior bureaucrats, who leaks information on unethical, corrupt or criminal behaviour in the government.

Is it not the obligation of senior elected officials and public servants to ensure that any such information is public and in the open?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Infrastructure and Crown Corporations

Mr. Speaker, in his call for transparency I hope the Leader of the Opposition is signalling a new day on his behalf, because what we have had from him has been a pattern of evasion.

He will not tell us who contributed to his leadership campaign. He will not tell us who contributed to the National Citizens' Coalition. In fact he is in the courts in the case of Harper v Attorney General of Canada trying to hide the dark money that is behind his past campaigns.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Canadian Alliance Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, I suppose that kind of diversion might work somewhere else but it will not work with Canadians.

Here is what else the Prime Minister had to say. He said that he was looking for those who were double-crossing his cabinet. In fact it is not the activities he is concerned about, it is the poor little cabinet.

Why does the Prime Minister not recognize that the unethical actions of the government is the problem, not the people who are exposing it?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Infrastructure and Crown Corporations

Mr. Speaker, I think the time has come for a little transparency on that side.

We have heard the Leader of the Opposition say that he is opposed to Canada's support for an international treaty stopping landmines. Why? Because the United States might not like it.

Who are his contributors? Who is behind the National Citizens' Coalition? Are they even Canadians? We do not know.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Canadian Alliance Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, I think the word “diversion” will have to be used a lot. The people who expose government scandals are traitors to the Prime Minister.

In his own words, “I would like to have the names of those who are double crossing the rest of the caucus and the cabinet”.

Does the Prime Minister not recognize that people who expose government scandal are heroes to the taxpayers of this country?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Infrastructure and Crown Corporations

Mr. Speaker, I do not think we need to take any lessons from members of the Alliance Party on caucus unity, that is for sure. I think there are a few of them who still have not come back.

If they are going to live in a glass house, they had better be careful what they do with their stones because the time has come for them to live up to the standards of probity that Canadians expect. Why now are they resisting referring back the Milliken-Oliver report to be updated in order to look at a standard of behaviour for members of parliament?

There is a pattern forming here. They want to obscure the issues in order to talk about something else because they must have something to hide. Well they can run, but they--

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Beauport--Montmorency--Côte-de-Beaupré--Île-d'Orléans.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Beauport—Montmorency—Côte-De- Beaupré—Île-D'Orléans, QC

Mr. Speaker, we thought we had seen and heard everything from this Prime Minister. Yesterday, in Winnipeg, he made a statement that is surprising, to say the least, when he said, regarding the sponsorship program, and I quote:

Perhaps there were a few million dollars that might have been stolen, but it was for a good cause: Canadian unity.

Does the Deputy Prime Minister realize that, considering the ethics shown by the Prime Minister, he is telling all politicians that stealing may be justified, as long as it is to defend national unity?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Infrastructure and Crown Corporations

Mr. Speaker, this is utterly false. The Prime Minister simply repeated what he said several times in the House.

There are programs in place and if mistakes were made, we must correct them. If there are people who committed crimes, they will have to face the courts. This is normal, and this is what the Prime Minister said.

But he also added that the sponsorship program exists for several reasons. There are a number of members in this House, even Bloc Quebecois members, who support the sponsorship program.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Beauport—Montmorency—Côte-De- Beaupré—Île-D'Orléans, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Deputy Prime Minister obviously did not read this morning's newspapers. With his latest comment, is the Prime Minister not confirming that the double billing, the reports paid for but impossible to find, the reports billed three times, the commissions paid to thier friends, all this is not serious stuff, because it promotes Canadian unity?

Is this what we are to make of the Prime Minister's remarks, namely that it is not serious if it is done for Canada?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Infrastructure and Crown Corporations

Mr. Speaker, I can understand that the hon. member would be opposed to Canada's visibility in Quebec. I can understand that he is a bit disappointed because the Parti Quebecois is now in third place in Quebec. I am sure that he is disappointed by the fact that support for separation is very low.

However, I believe it is because Quebecers now understand the costs of separation. They now understand that Canada is—