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House of Commons Hansard #13 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was military.

Topics

BilingualismStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Andy Savoy Liberal Tobique—Mactaquac, NB

Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition's Belgian waffle proposal is yet another slap in the face to Atlantic Canadians. His plan for the future of Canada suggests a decentralized system that separates the nation's language communities and divides our country into regions.

We have seen this model before in New Brunswick. It is called the Confederation of Regions. In the late 1980s, Progressive Conservatives and Liberals alike joined together to fight the Confederation of Regions' divisive platform. A return to that period in our history would be a huge step backward for our entire country.

As a New Brunswicker with Acadian ancestry, I am personally offended that the opposition leader would float an idea that threatens our proud distinction as Canada's only officially bilingual province. We have spent decades building bridges between our language communities. Let us continue to build bridges, not bomb them.

HomelessnessStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, whether it is permanent or temporary, the experience of a growing number of people who are homeless or those at risk of becoming so is a matter for our attention. Homelessness is often presented as an urban fact, but it happens in all regions as well.

Thousands of people have found themselves homeless in the Lanaudière region in recent years. More than 1,500 people have turned to shelters for housing, food and friendship. Continuing an event started 14 years ago by the Regroupement des auberges du coeur du Québec, the 8th night of the homeless will be held in Joliette all night from Friday to Saturday, October 22 and 23. Such vigils will be held simultaneously at fifteen sites across Quebec.

In Joliette, the event will be full of talk, songs and stories, and this year for the first time the population will be invited to spend the night with us in the heated tent. Near the end of the night, about 4 a.m., in solidarity with the homeless, and with my sleeping bag, I will join the crowd.

Citizenship WeekStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Eleni Bakopanos Liberal Ahuntsic, QC

Mr. Speaker, this week, October 18 to 24, Canadians from coast to coast are celebrating Citizenship Week. This annual event is designed to promote a broad awareness of the values of citizenship, including its rights, privileges and responsibilities.

In schools and community and cultural centres everywhere, thousands of new Canadians will take the oath of citizenship, as my family and I did 41 years ago. Many other Canadians will reaffirm their citizenship at these events by publicly reciting the oath of citizenship.

It is a time to reflect on the rights and privileges that we all enjoy because we live in a peaceful, welcoming and democratic country called Canada.

I want to welcome all the new Canadians in my riding of Ahuntsic and I wish them much success in this great country they have chosen to live in.

Being a Canadian citizen means many things, but it means freedom, respect, and belonging to the greatest country in the world.

Canadian Light SourceStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Lynne Yelich Conservative Blackstrap, SK

Mr. Speaker, Saskatoon is bright with columns of light this week as the city and in fact the world celebrate the grand opening of Canadian Light Source.

The $173 million synchrotron owned by the University of Saskatchewan represents one of the nation's largest investments in science in 30 years. Our national synchrotron is expected to have a tremendous economic and scientific impact. The potential for research and development is endless and jets Canada firmly onto the biotech world map. It means world class jobs, world class scientific opportunities, and world class companies doing business in our city.

It has been 10 years since the idea of building a synchrotron in Saskatoon was first proposed. There were many challenges to overcome, but thanks to the vision, dedication and persistence of its supporters, the Canadian Light Source synchrotron is open for business in Saskatoon.

I will be conveying my congratulations at the gala opening tomorrow, but I would like to offer my thanks and good wishes to everyone who has had a hand in bringing the Canadian Light Source to Saskatoon.

Leader of the OppositionStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Jean-Claude D'Amours Liberal Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the Leader of the Opposition for keeping the hon. members of this House in a good mood. His humour is greatly appreciated.

The Leader of the Opposition has taken a leaf from the book of the leader of the Action démocratique du Québec, Mario Dumont, who suggests changing the name of Quebec to the Independent State of Quebec. Mr. Dumont also suggests that Quebec should have its own constitution, collect all taxes itself and then decide what the federal government's share will be.

Mr. Dumont's proposals provoked a burst of laughter in the National Assembly and across Quebec. Everyone heard in it an echo of Yvon Deschamps' joke about wanting an independent Quebec in a united Canada.

Allow me again to praise the sense of humour of the Leader of the Opposition who thought, rightfully so, that if the members of the National Assembly could get a kick out of this good joke, then the members of this House should not be left out.

Credit Union DayStatements By Members

October 21st, 2004 / 2:10 p.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin NDP Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today on Credit Union Day to pay tribute to Canada's credit union system.

The great distinction of credit unions in Canada is that they are owned by their members. Accordingly, credit union services are determined by the needs of all their members rather than those of profit driven shareholders.

Credit unions serve and help communities drive their own economic growth. They have a proud history of introducing innovative services like life insured loans and weekly versus monthly payments, both great benefits to their members.

Today in Canada there are 572 credit unions with close to 1,800 locations serving more than 4.6 million people. They manage assets in excess of $74 billion. Including the caisses populaires in Quebec, one in three Canadians is a credit union member.

I extend congratulations to all credit unions, a vital component of Canada's economic and social life.

TaxationStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Charlie Penson Conservative Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, during this year's election campaign the Prime Minister told Canadians that the Conservative Party was wrong when we said we could have both increased spending on priority areas and lower taxes. The Prime Minister said:

Stephen Harper says he can do it all, he says he can protect health care, increase transfers to the provinces, he can eliminate debt, he can cut taxes. I'll tell you something, his numbers don't add up. They're not even close.

Now we know that the surplus has rolled in at $9.1 billion rather than the $1.9 billion that the Minister of Finance forecast. So much for Liberal math. How ironic that only four months after the Minister of Finance said there is no room for tax cuts, now he is proposing them.

We could not agree more. The OECD says Canada's tax burden remains the heaviest in NAFTA. It is time to cut taxes. We were right all along.

International Literacy DayStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Bloc Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, today we are celebrating International Literacy Day. Knowing how to read and write is essential for life in today's society, since illiteracy can lead to exclusion.

One million people in Quebec have limited literacy skills. Nearly 415,000 people 65 or older have less than a grade nine education. Limited literacy skills can result in a lower quality of life for seniors and increased health risks.

Illiteracy also affects young people in Canada. Almost 11% of young people between the ages of 16 and 25 experience great difficulty reading.

That said, thousands of people are trying to improve their situation. We congratulate them and want them to know how proud we are of them.

I invite you all to contribute to literacy by giving someone a book. Happy reading.

LiteracyStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Carol Skelton Conservative Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, across Canada there are people who struggle to function every day. Their disability is invisible and affects everything they do, but it is curable. Canadians who lack general literacy skills struggle every day, not only to hide their problem but also to seek a cure.

On Literacy Action Day, we pause and consider what it would be like not to be able to read. This year I was assisted in that with a wonderful visit from Carmen, Debbie, Tara and Carey.

We are reminded of our obligation to help others by giving them the gift of literacy. We know that literacy has positive impacts on health, income, equality and self-esteem.

Every year I meet with people who have learned to read late in their lives. Although literacy comes late for them, they all say they do not regret stepping forward and asking for help.

I encourage those in need to ask for help and those who can to offer it. Let us make Canada a better place.

HungaryStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Andrew Telegdi Liberal Kitchener—Waterloo, ON

Mr. Speaker, Saturday, October 23 will mark the 48th anniversary of the start of the Hungarian revolution.

The revolution was ignited when a student-led demonstration against Soviet communism was met with gunfire. The revolution was crushed by Soviet tanks. There were 25,000 freedom fighters killed and 100,000 wounded. A reign of terror was to follow.

Two hundred thousand Hungarians fled Hungary with nearly 40,000 being granted refuge in Canada. The then minister of immigration, Jack Pickersgill, went to extraordinary lengths to expedite the movement of Hungarian refugees to Canada.

On behalf of my family and the nearly 40,000 refugees, I want to thank the Canadian people, the former St. Laurent government and Jack Pickersgill for the compassion, concern and safe haven they offered us in this wonderful country.

Citizenship and ImmigrationStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Meili Faille Bloc Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, in this Citizenship Week, I would like to demonstrate the kind of hardship possible under the immigration system.

Take for example the sad case of the Vega family. One such case is already one too many.

The Vega family is from Colombia. Mr. Vega is a university professor who actively championed human rights. The price for that was torture, and he had to flee Colombia with his family. Returning to his native country would put his entire family at risk of death.

Unfortunately, Immigration Canada denied their application, condemning them to the worst fate possible. They sought refuge in a sanctuary. But that is an extreme last resort. An appeal division was announced two years ago, but it has yet to be put in place. It could have dealt with the Vega's situation.

I urge the entire House to find quick and efficient solutions to help those who need our help today, and right away.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, in February of this year the Prime Minister went on national television to tell all Canadians that he was mad as hell, that he was out of the loop and that he knew nothing about the conduct of the sponsorship program. Now we know his office made phone calls to Gagliano. We know it resulted in reversing decisions and securing hundreds of thousands of dollars in sponsorship money for his fundraisers and his associates.

How long has the Prime Minister known that these calls were made by his office?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, when one hears the unwarranted accusations, the innuendo from the other side, it is clear why it is preferable for Canadians and for the truth to come out that we rely upon the Gomery commission. It will get at the truth of this entire matter. It is why Canadians and the government are going to rely on it. It is clear that the opposition is not interested in the facts. It is interested in unfounded accusations, and that is not going to wash.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, if the Prime Minister is worried about accusations and innuendo, he has only himself to blame. The easy solution would be to stand in his place and answer simple, straightforward questions.

I will ask the question again. In February the Prime Minister said that he knew nothing about the sponsorship program and that his office was not involved. Now we find out that it was. Did he know that at the time? How long has he known that his office was making calls to secure hundreds of thousands of dollars of sponsorship money for his bagmen and their associates?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, it is very evident why the Leader of the Opposition and his party are trying to subvert the Gomery commission. It is very clear why they do not want the Gomery commission to succeed. It is because the Gomery commission is going to get at the truth and it is going to demonstrate that the innuendo and the unwarranted accusations coming from the opposition have no basis in fact.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, if the Prime Minister is concerned about the truth, he just has to tell it and it will set us all free.

The Prime Minister cannot expect to come to the House of Commons and refuse to answer questions on the grounds it could incriminate him in another inquiry. He cannot take the fifth amendment on the floor of the Canadian Parliament.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. I am sure the Leader of the Opposition appreciates help and advice in the course of asking his question but perhaps we could have a little order so we could hear what the question is without all that advice and help. The hon. Leader of the Opposition.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, when did the Prime Minister learn that his office had been placing calls to the office of Alfonso Gagliano to secure funding for his friends and fundraisers?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the United States constitution today, Belgium yesterday. Let me tell the Leader of the Opposition that this is the Canadian House of Commons not the United Nations General Assembly.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, in the Canadian Constitution it is the Prime Minister who is supposed to be accountable on the floor of the House of Commons. I have witnessed Mr. Trudeau, I have watched Mr. Mulroney, I have stood face to face with Mr. Chrétien when their integrity was on the line and watched them answer questions in tough situations.

When did the Prime Minister know his office was making calls to Gagliano to get sponsorship money for his friends?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. We will have no booing in the House. The hon. Minister of Public Works and Government Services has the floor.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, I call attention to the headline in today's Ottawa Citizen that says, “Tories 'wrong' about PM, phone call”. Further, three days ago the deputy leader of the Conservative Party was wrong on Francis Fox. Two days ago the leader of the Conservative Party was wrong on the Prime Minister making phone calls. Yesterday, the deputy leader of the Conservative Party was wrong when he said that only Liberals knew about the sponsorship program.

It is pretty clear that on that side of the House the leader of that party is becoming Mr. Wrong and the deputy leader is Mr. Wrong Again.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, this member is doing nothing but stonewalling on the truth and it is totally unacceptable.

The Prime Minister said in February:

Anyone who knows anything that could help shed light in this area--in the government, in the caucus or anywhere in the country, corporations or in the Liberal Party--should come forward and not wait to be compelled to do so...

Apparently the Prime Minister means this applies to anybody but himself. Will the Prime Minister come forward and tell us when he knew the truth about these telephone calls?