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House of Commons Hansard #140 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was riding.

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Order in Council AppointmentsRoutine Proceedings

October 21st, 2003 / 10 a.m.

Halifax West Nova Scotia

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I have the pleasure to table, in both official languages, a number of order in council appointments made recently by the government.

Government Response to PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Halifax West Nova Scotia

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8) I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to one petition.

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present the eighth report of the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates regarding its order of reference of Tuesday, September 23, 2003, concerning supplementary estimates (A).

Mr. Speaker, your committee has considered the supplementary estimates (A) and have agreed to report them, without amendment.

Business of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

Jacques Saada Liberal Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is with deep emotion that I move:

That the member for Charlesbourg—Jacques-Cartier may immediately introduce a bill entitled “An Act to establish Holocaust Memorial Day” and a member from each party may speak to the bill for no more than two minutes, following which the said bill shall be deemed to have been read a second time, referred to and reported from committee, concurred in at the report stage and read a third time and passed.

Business of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

The Speaker

The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Business of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

(Motion agreed to)

Holocaust Memorial Day ActRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Bloc

Richard Marceau Bloc Charlesbourg—Jacques-Cartier, QC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-459, an act to establish Holocaust Memorial Day.

Mr. Speaker, it is with a great deal of emotion that I rise today to speak about the introduction and passage of a bill to establish the Holocaust Memorial Day.

One of my best friends, Howard Rudolph, lost his father Albert not too long ago, unfortunately. Albert Rudolph was a holocaust survivor. Tattooed on his skin was an indelible mark of this dark period in human history. His skin bore the mark of a regime that tried to kill him and wiped out his family and friends and his village, just because he was born a Jew. Albert Rudolph's death made me realize that, unfortunately, time is rushing on and that there are not too many survivors left. Hence the numbers of direct witnesses of this dark period are gradually declining.

It is therefore important for society as a whole and for government to take these witnesses' place and ensure that everyone, especially young people, know what happened at that time.

I would like to thank the members for York Centre, Lanark—Carleton, Kings—Hants and Winnipeg South Centre for all their work toward having this bill passed unanimously. I would also like to thank Senator Jerahmiel S. Grafstein and Senator Noël Kinsella, who undertook to ensure speedy passage of this bill in the Senate. I specifically want to thank the member for Winnipeg North Centre who accepted that such legislation should be unanimously passed by the House. I also thank all my colleagues for allowing this bill to go through, to help us ensure—at least as far as the Bloc' is concerned—that Quebec's national motto, Je me souviens —I remember—will be associated with what the Holocaust should teach each and every one of us, that is: Never again.

Holocaust Memorial Day ActRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

Anita Neville Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is with both emotion and privilege that I stand here today as we table an act that would establish a national Holocaust memorial day throughout Canada.

The Holocaust, as we all know, is a unique tragedy in the history of humankind. The terrible genocide murdered six million innocent European Jews, including over a million children. Conducted in a frighteningly systemic way, the Holocaust is more than the worst crime against humanity: it stands as a testament to the evil of which mankind is capable and is a permanent reminder to our global conscience. As the philosopher George Santayana wrote, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”.

At the end of the second world war, the civilized world looked in horror at Nazi extermination camps and said, as we have heard, “Never again”.

To ensure that humanity does not repeat its follies, we must learn from our history and remember our past. A Holocaust memorial day would remind all Canadians of the horrors that should never be forgotten. It would remind our children and our children's children of the mistakes that we should never repeat. It would immortalize the millions lost and would permanently join Canada in solidarity with those who survived those atrocities. Finally, it would symbolize the suffering of all people imperilled by genocide, whether they are Jews, Armenians, Cambodians or Rwandans.

All ten Canadian provinces have already established remembrance days to commemorate the Holocaust. This historic act will be nationwide. It will be marked according to the Jewish lunar calendar on the 27th day of Nisan, a day that marks the beginning of the Jewish uprising in the infamous Warsaw ghetto and which falls in our month of April.

On behalf of my colleague, the hon. member for York Centre, who is presently in Asia and who is a co-sponsor of this multi-party bill, and on my own behalf, I wish to acknowledge the efforts of representatives from all political parties who are here today. With the passage of the bill, we will tell future generations that we have not forgotten.

Holocaust Memorial Day ActRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Scott Reid Canadian Alliance Lanark—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to speak briefly of why today we memorialize the Holocaust.

We do so, first, to honour and to remember the six million who died in the Holocaust: those who died in the camps, those who died fighting in the Warsaw ghetto, and those who died in so many other places.

Second, we memorialize the Holocaust to comfort those who survive, but who will bear the scars of what happened to them on their hearts as clearly as some of the survivors bear the tattoos of the concentration camps on their skin.

Third, we do so to honour the righteous gentiles, some of whose names are familiar to us, such as Sukahara, Schindler and Wallenberg, but also the many others who, at risk to themselves, undertook to save and protect the Jews who were their neighbours and friends and also to protect the values of the civilization that is so important to us.

Fourth, and this is the main point, we do so to ensure that the words “never again” have some meaning, because in the past half-century, the past 60 years, quite frankly, never again has become again and again. Every time a suicide bomber kills innocent civilians, our civilization is forgetting never again. Every time in the past 60 years that a government has terrorized its own citizens we are forgetting as a civilization that phrase never again. Every time an invader slaughters the innocents of the country it seeks to control, we are forgetting those words never again.

It is our duty as the Parliament of a great and civilized nation to ensure that the words “never again” are inscribed in our hearts every bit as much as words can be inscribed in stone, every bit as much as these words must go on in our civilization in the future.

Holocaust Memorial Day ActRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Scott Brison Progressive Conservative Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured today to play a role in moving the Canadian government to officially recognize Yom Ha'Shoah, the Holocaust memorial day.

For years, Holocaust survivors, their loved ones and Canadians of various faiths have come together to honour the victims of Nazi genocide through an annual Holocaust memorial day. By having the Canadian government officially recognize this practice through the proclamation of Yom Ha'Shoah, we are paying an important symbolic tribute to the victims of Nazi atrocities. At the same time, we are making additional resources available to help remind Canadians of the important lessons of this tragedy.

Nazi fascists and their collaborators deliberately executed the planned annihilation of millions of Jews and the genocide of other peoples simply because of their religion, their race, in some cases their sexual orientation, or physical or mental disabilities or even their political beliefs.

Canadians must never forget these atrocities. We must continue to condemn these actions in the strongest possible way and teach Canadian children to abhor and to act against these practices as they persist today in our modern world.

I am honoured to stand with my colleagues this morning in support of this important legislation. Not only does this bill embody the Canadian values of diversity, democracy and freedom, but it serves as a valuable reminder to parliamentarians to stand up and protect those fundamental Canadian values as we continue to debate and create laws based on the fundamental values of human rights and equality for all Canadians. As such, I congratulate all hon. members of the House on their unanimous support of this important bill.

Holocaust Memorial Day ActRoutine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, this is truly an emotional day, a day of great historic consequence for our nation and for the world. I am very honoured and pleased to be participating in an all-party initiative to create Holocaust memorial day for Canada.

When I heard from my colleague, le député de Charlesbourg--Jacques-Cartier, of the possibility of taking my private member's bill and making it into an all-party piece of legislation that would pass in the House unanimously and become a law in this session of Parliament, I was ecstatic. I want to thank the député de Charlesbourg--Jacques-Cartier for his initiative and I want to thank all of my colleagues from all parties for this spirit of cooperation in helping us achieve this great historic moment for Jewish people everywhere and for Canadians' determination to prevent history from repeating itself.

I also want to thank those members of the Canadian Jewish Congress, the B'nai B'rith and other organizations in Canada, and survivors and their families who have worked so hard to make us aware of the pain of the Holocaust and our responsibilities to ensure that this atrocity in our history is never forgotten.

There are two very important purposes to this legislation. The first is for us to honour, respect and mourn the victims of the Holocaust. It is also to honour and respect the survivors of the Holocaust. We are aware of the pain of those who have survived this horrific chapter in our history. As the member for Winnipeg North Centre, I am reminded daily about that contribution and I know the importance of keeping that history alive.

The second is to be vigilant in policies that fight racism, which was at the root of the Holocaust, and to do whatever we can in Canada to stop anti-Semitic behaviour, to speak out against the comments by the prime minister of Malaysia and others who have perpetuated a great atrocity. Let us be vigilant forever. Let us honour the survivors today.

Holocaust Memorial Day ActRoutine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

The Speaker

Pursuant to the order made earlier today, the bill is deemed read a second time, referred to a committee, reported, concurred in at report stage, and read a third time and passed.

(Motion agreed to, bill read the second time, considered in committee, reported, concurred in, and read the third time and passed)

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Laurentides, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is a privilege this morning to present to the House a petition bearing 46,000 signatures in support of my bill, Bill C-328, which will be considered this afternoon for a second hour.

I hope that the 46,000 petitioners will be heard and that, when members vote on this anti-scab legislation tomorrow, they will remember that over 46,000 people from Quebec and the rest of Canada have signed a petition supporting the bill. Without further ado, I present this petition to the House.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

Halifax West Nova Scotia

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the following question will be answered today: No. 269.

Question No. 269Routine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds Canadian Alliance West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast, BC

As the Cultural Property Export and Import Act requires that moveable controlled cultural property requires permits to be issued authorizing the removal of cultural Canadian property from our country: ( a ) why was the exporter of the Victoria Cross and war medals of the late Lt. Col. John (Jock) MacGregor allowed to export for sale these medals to an auction house in London, England, without the customary export permits; ( b ) why, once Heritage Canada and the Department of Justice were made aware of this contravention of the law forcing them to intercede and recover these medals at a cost of some $176,000 from the auction house, were charges not laid against the exporter and any and all others involved in this transaction; and ( c ) how many charges have been laid by the Government of Canada since 1977 against those who have contravened the Cultural Property Export and Import Act?

Question No. 269Routine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

In response to (a), the export of the items without an appropriate export licence was not authorized by the Government of Canada.

In response to (b), no charges were laid in the matter because of the fact that it was demonstrated that the contravention to the law was made without criminal intent and that both the exporter and the auction house subsequently cooperated to correct the situation and returned the items to Canada. The $176,000 amount represented the cost of purchasing the items by the War Museum and not the cost of recovering the items.

In response to (c), eight charges have been laid by the Government of Canada since 1977 against those who have contravened the Cultural Property Export and Import Act.

Question No. 269Routine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

I ask, Mr. Speaker, that the remaining questions be allowed to stand.

Question No. 269Routine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Is that agreed?

Question No. 269Routine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Electoral Boundaries Readjustment ActGovernment Orders

10:20 a.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalMinister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

moved that Bill C-49, an act respecting the effective date of the representation order of 2003, be read the third time and passed.

Mr. Speaker, I wish to share my time with the hon. member for Halifax West.

Despite the brevity and unassuming title of the bill, it is of great importance to Canadians. Canadians deserve to have the representation in the House of Commons that the census has determined they should have.

I made a long speech on the merits of the bill when it was referred to a parliamentary committee before second reading. I am grateful for the support and contribution of members of all parties.

I know some of our colleagues—and especially the whip of the New Democratic Party, I think—had concerns about the Acadian community. This issue was discussed. Members of the Acadian community have stated that they are now quite pleased with the way we want to go.

That being said, I recommend that the House pass the bill as soon as possible so that Canadians can benefit from the improvements made by this bill in the next election.

Finally, all political parties, and they are part of the institution of Parliament, all constituency associations and all hon. members deserve to know as soon as possible what the boundaries will be like for the next election so they can proceed with the organizational work that is necessary in a representative democracy.

I also want to indicate to the House that there has been consultation among all political parties about certain constituency names where corrections would be in order. I have had that bill produced. It will be handed to the House leaders later this day. When we approve this bill, perhaps today, and today would actually be my preference, or tomorrow if it is not, then at that time I would propose for adoption to the House amendments to the riding names, which have been agreed to with all political parties in the House of Commons in order to accommodate the wishes of as many hon. members as possible.

With that, I thank colleagues for their support.

Electoral Boundaries Readjustment ActGovernment Orders

10:20 a.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to point out first that the Bloc Quebecois agrees with the electoral boundary readjustment process. That is not where the problem lies. What bothers us is that, normally, if we had followed a non-partisan course, as the government and the government House leader claim we have, the new electoral boundaries would not have taken effect until next August. But there was a partisan intervention by the member for LaSalle—Émard, the future prime minister. He sees himself as prime minister already, and is already acting like a prime minister, while in fact he has not yet even been chosen as Liberal Party leader.

That does bother us and I have a question to ask of the government House leader. Is he not uncomfortable with the fact that partisan intervention has interfered with the non-partisan legislative process that should lead to the new electoral boundaries? Is he not uncomfortable, especially when the member for LaSalle—Émard talks about the democratic deficit? That gentleman calls himself a great democrat, but he has interfered from the outside to speed up a non-partisan process whereby the new electoral boundaries would not apply before August. Was it not to further the electoral ambitions of the future prime minister and current member for LaSalle—Émard that this approach was used?

Once again, I would like to state that we support the electoral redistribution process. What disturbs us is that someone like the member for LaSalle—Émard can intervene to serve his personal agenda as future prime minister; the democratic and non-partisan rules governing the new electoral boundaries are being trampled upon.

Electoral Boundaries Readjustment ActGovernment Orders

10:25 a.m.

Liberal

Don Boudria Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his question, but I must say that it is a rather revisionist view of how the bill came to be introduced.

The first request to speed up the process came from the Canadian Alliance. This was done publicly. The current leader of the Conservative Party followed suit very quickly; he asked in front of the media that the bill be passed more quickly. Of course, we saw yesterday this same leader and his party vote against the bill. However, the leader of the Conservative Party had made a statement, which was reported in the media, in favour of the bill.

It is true that some members on this side of the House also wanted to support such an initiative. If the government had been against this bill, of course, we would not have introduced it. We introduced it because we are in favour of it. It is just common sense. However, the original request came from two opposition parties, which suggested this initiative to the government. I must add that there were consultations with all political parties. Of course, later on, some members decided to be less in favour of the bill than they had been previously. This is how the bill came to be introduced.

Now with regard to calling this a partisan initiative, it is not. I think that the member wants to play partisan politics with a non-partisan issue. We are not asking to change the electoral boundaries to favour one party over another. There is nothing to that effect in the bill. We are not changing boundaries.

Here is what this is all about. The current system has been in existence for about 40 years, going back to the days when maps were drawn manually. Over the last decade, the new way of drawing maps has changed everything. The member must know that if he appeared before the Subcommittee on Electoral Boundaries Readjustment. I appeared before that committee regarding the boundary between your riding, Mr. Speaker, and mine. I alleged that such a boundary would transfer about 4,000 votes from one riding to the other. We asked the expert if he could do that on the screen, if he could draw the map right away. The expert clicked on a button, and we could see on the screen that maybe 4,800 votes had been transferred. We had the precise number in three seconds. This used to take weeks. Now, with the mapping system that is used today, these things can be done rapidly.

The question that I am asking it this: is it logical for this House not to accelerate the process and not to assure Canadians to the highest degree possible that a new map will be in place for the next election, instead of the current map which could be 18 years old by the time the next election is called? It is not normal to deprive people of that right. We have the tools, we have the mapping system, and the chief electoral officer said that he could be ready by April 1. Therefore, we are doing it.

Electoral Boundaries Readjustment ActGovernment Orders

10:30 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

I am sorry, but since two members are splitting their time, it means that the question and comment period is limited to five minutes.

Electoral Boundaries Readjustment ActGovernment Orders

10:30 a.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Could you explain how the time allotted for the speech can be split without the unanimous consent of the House of Commons?

According to the Standing Orders, time sharing between two members requires the unanimous consent of the House of Commons, does it not?

Electoral Boundaries Readjustment ActGovernment Orders

10:30 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

I should keep in mind of course that I chaired the committee on modernization.

The committee, in effect, changed the 40 minute speeches that were originally set aside for the government and the two next opposition parties, being the Alliance and the Bloc Québécois. There was a discussion at that time among the House leaders and others who participated in this committee to go to 20 minute speeches for a more equitable distribution of time.

Originally, there was an ability, through unanimous consent, to change the 40 minutes and split it. It would appear that in our committee we did not go as far as we might have intended to, but we certainly did not make the provision to split the 20 minutes.

Therefore, in this case I will continue the debate. I will now go to the official opposition and the intended speaker.

I would want to hear from the government House leader if he wanted to speak longer because maybe it was his intent to speak less, and probably in this case the parliamentary secretary was going to split the time. However, in accordance with the rules we have presently--and it may be something that the House leaders and others would want to review as to whether the intent might have been otherwise--clearly the Chair does not have the ability to allow for the splitting of the 20 minute speeches.

Of course, as is the practice in the House, we can do most anything with consent.

I will go back to the minister or his parliamentary secretary and ask if they wish to seek consent to split the time. I see a positive nod from the parliamentary secretary.

The government side is asking for consent to split its 20 minute slot. Of course, the minister has already spoken, so in fact the next 10 minutes would go to the parliamentary secretary.

Is there consent?