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House of Commons Hansard #43 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was aboriginal.

Topics

Religious FreedomStatements By Members

11 a.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Liberal Ajax—Pickering, ON

Mr. Speaker, modern democracies are founded on the principle of the separation of church and state. It is a principle that I certainly support.

When secular tradition suppresses individual freedoms and disregards tolerance, I think we as a House and as a nation need to stand up. I am particularly concerned with the ban on articles of faith and the wearing of articles of faith in France.

I recently circulated a letter to all members of Parliament, many of whom have signed, expressing to the French government the need to repeal this action as it is directly contrary to our deeply felt convictions that we need to support freedom and democracy.

This affects Muslims, Jews and Christians equally. The fear is that if France entrenches this, it will extend into other jurisdictions.

Individuals must be free to express themselves. We must fight for that freedom. I urge all members of the House to stand on that principle.

Kodak CanadaStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Alan Tonks Liberal York South—Weston, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday we were informed by the president of Kodak Canada that Canadian manufacturing operations would be discontinued by the middle of 2005. It is with deep regret that we received this announcement.

Kodak, at its Mount Dennis location on Eglinton Avenue, has been part of the history of the former city of York, now the city of Toronto, for 100 years. During that time Kodak has been a caring and sharing corporate citizen, supporting community activities, enjoying a committed and dedicated family of employees. Kodak Canada has contributed to the international reputation that Eastman Kodak enjoyed, from traditional imaging to state of the art digital technology.

This is the end of a very special era. It is a very special and sad time for the Kodak family and the York South--Weston community. We are appreciative of the care that Kodak officials have expressed with respect to their employees and the transitional support that will be provided.

Given Kodak's past record of community involvement, we are confident the company will work with all levels of government to find the most appropriate use of its present site with the highest and best return to the community that it has served for so long.

ChristianityStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

Cheryl Gallant Conservative Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, as we approach this holy time in the Christian calendar, the birth of Jesus Christ, Christians in Canada and around the world are facing increased persecution. In response to church bombings in parts of the world, the Vatican is asking the United Nations to recognize Christianophobia as an evil equal to that of anti-Semitism or Islamophobia.

Hostility in Canada to Christian teachings about the sanctity of the family and life has resulted in persecution here at home. The government has launched a campaign of intimidation to silence churches by dispatching tax collectors to threaten the charitable tax status of denominations who speak out against the Liberal government. This attacks the very democratic foundations of our society. The recent persecution of a Christian children's camp by the Ontario Liberal Party over its flawed and unworkable water regulations is but one example of anti-Christian actions here at home.

Governments do not like those who challenge the moral authority they claim for themselves. It is time to challenge what we believe is wrong. To quote St. Pius X, “error is approved by non-resistance, and truth is suffocated by not defending her”.

2004 Farm Family of the YearStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Bloc

Denise Poirier-Rivard Bloc Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, QC

Mr. Speaker, as part of the recent annual assembly of the Union des producteurs agricoles, the family of Jean-Louis Charbonneau and Alice Cyr from Sainte-Anne-des-Plaines was named the 2004 farm family of the year. The title is awarded by the Fondation de la famille terrienne.

Jean-Louis Charbonneau represents the 10th consecutive generation of farmers who settled in New France. He was born on his parents' property near the village of Sainte-Thérèse on the north shore of Montreal, a property that has been farmed by his family since the early 1800s. The farm has 200 head of cattle, including 97 dairy cows, and 350 hectares of crop land. The property also has a 20-hectare artificial forest. Over the years, the farm has earned many awards for the quality of its production.

This award is presented annually to a Quebec family that has preserved and inspired values unique to farming in Quebec. From generation to generation in family, social, economic and professional terms. Without question, the family—

2004 Farm Family of the YearStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. member for Ahuntsic.

Violence Against WomenStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Eleni Bakopanos Liberal Ahuntsic, QC

Mr. Speaker, December 6 marked the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. It was also the sad anniversary of the terrible massacre of 14 young women who lost their lives at the École Polytechnique in Montreal.

On this occasion, I want to congratulate agencies such as Bouclier d'Athéna, which provides family services specializing in intervention in domestic violence cases, as well as Arrêt-Source and Transit 24, agencies in my riding that provide help, support and companionship to women who are victims of violence.

Their work and dedication enable us to make progress in the fight against this scourge.

In our days and in today's society, violence against women still exists. Until we break this vicious cycle, every day will be December 6.

Citizenship and ImmigrationStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

Gary Goodyear Conservative Cambridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, a constituent in my riding of Cambridge had to pay $24,000 in order to get his sister-in-law into our great country. Her three and a half year old child is still waiting to get in. Clearly his sister-in-law did not work on the immigration minister's campaign.

This person is a certified surgical nurse in her former country, but she lost that specialized job when her employers found out she was a single mother. For that reason she decided to join us here in Canada. Health care workers are needed in Cambridge, yet this professional is not certified to work here. This nurse will not quit. She wrote her nursing exams for Ontario this week. Her dream is to help Canadians, to build a better life for herself in Canada and to get her child here as soon as possible, a little girl she has not seen for over two years.

My constituent wonders why Liberal campaign workers are more important than nurses. He also wonders why priorities are put on stripper programs rather than reuniting mothers with their toddlers, and nurses with patients.

Yee Hong Seniors CentresStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Derek Lee Liberal Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

Mr. Speaker, on November 28 the fourth Yee Hong seniors residence officially opened in Scarborough. The Yee Hong family of seniors residences began in Scarborough over 15 years ago. With new centres in Mississauga and Markham, it is now a Canadian leader in culturally appropriate senior care.

These centres do not just provide accommodation. They also serve the broader community with meals on wheels, palliative care, counselling, seniors activities and skill teaching for caregivers using highly skilled and motivated volunteers and professional staff.

Firmly based in and supported by the Chinese Canadian community, Yee Hong serves seniors of all cultures, with residential options for Japanese, South Asian and Filipino Canadians. Professionals from around the world visit Yee Hong to see their operations.

Congratulations to Dr. Joseph Wong, the board, the donors, their great staff and all the volunteers who make Yee Hong such a success.

Automobile IndustryStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

NDP

Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

Mr. Speaker, on November 2 the Canadian Automotive Partnership Council tabled its report, “A Call for Action: A Canadian Auto Strategy”.

Once the report was made public, I asked the Minister of Industry when he would act on recommendations. He stated, “Over the next couple of weeks we will be putting together the final touches on an automotive strategy for Canada”.

Nearly another month passed when I again pressed the minister about inaction and he said, “In terms of cabinet consideration I don't know the degree to which I can be open about that, but I would like to think that we can get feedback before Christmas”.

For the record, all I want for Christmas is a Canadian auto policy.

The CAPC report was more than two years in the making and had significant government involvement. The recommendations, therefore, are no surprise. We need to move on investment opportunities like the GM Beacon project so we do not lose more investment.

It is time to move on the CAPC recommendations; fight back against international subsidies that steal Canadian jobs; question markets that are closed to Canadian automobile sales, yet sell in our markets; and take this opportunity to be the pioneers of the manufacture, design and assembly of a new wave of environmentally friendly vehicles that Canadians manufacture and assemble and have those jobs.

Youth at RiskStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Conservative

Lynne Yelich Conservative Blackstrap, SK

Mr. Speaker, two weeks ago Delores Bird was found dead in Saskatoon following a night of drinking and taking pills. Alone and wandering the street, she was looking for a place to sleep. Delores had dropped out of school. Her mother was out of town. She was left to fend for herself. She was a child. She was 11 years old.

This is by no means an isolated case. In Saskatoon alone it is estimated there are 1,000 other children like Delores Bird, out of school and on the streets. Every one of them is at risk.

Delores's death must not go unnoticed in this House and in our communities. The tragedy of her case must not be lost in jurisdictional wrangling.

I urge all parliamentarians to raise their voice in outrage and to act in order to ensure that no other Canadian child dies like Delores did.

Universal Declaration of Human RightsStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Bloc

Gérard Asselin Bloc Manicouagan, QC

Mr. Speaker, December 10 is Human Rights Day. On the initiative of René Cassin, the UN adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in New York.

We must make every effort to uphold the rights of women, protect refugees, give human rights priority in economic matters, promote respect for the fundamental rights of aboriginal peoples and reinforce human rights legislation and international institutions.

It is the duty of each parliamentarian here and elsewhere throughout the world to ensure that democracy is central to the political agenda.

To all those who, on a daily basis, serve humanity by fighting for freedom, we give our thanks.

Esteem TeamStatements By Members

December 10th, 2004 / 11:10 a.m.

Conservative

Darrel Stinson Conservative North Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to commend the Esteem Team program, a national not for profit organization that leaves a great impact on youth with their message and challenge for them to be the best they can be.

Esteem's vision is to inspire young people in grades 4 through 12 in the schools, community centres and sports clubs. High performance athletes from this program spark imagination, thought, dialogue and help youth understand and accept triumph as well as failure.

Over the last dozen years, Okanagan Landing school in my riding of Okanagan—Shuswap has had the good fortune of hosting a member of this great team of sports people and communicators.

I support this program as it can make a difference in young people's lives.

Roy OverforsStatements By Members

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Liberal Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to add my sentiments to those of the hon. members for Laval, Sackville—Eastern Shore, and Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca in expressing our sincerest condolences to the family and friends of Sergeant Roy Overfors.

Roy served with the House of Commons security service for 24 years ensuring the safety and protection of MPs, employees and thousands of visitors to the Parliament Buildings.

Roy was a loving husband and father. It was no secret to his friends on Parliament Hill that Roy loved the game of softball, both as a player and an umpire in many leagues.

For 10 years Roy was captain of Happy Hour Gang, a championship team that played in many exciting finals and won the Parliament Hill Softball League trophy in 1999.

His friends and fellow players are therefore proud to name the championship trophy the Roy Overfors Memorial Cup to honour the memory of a great sportsman and dear friend.

PovertyStatements By Members

11:15 a.m.

Bloc

Nicole Demers Bloc Laval, QC

Mr. Speaker, the report “One Million Too Many: Implementing Solutions to Child Poverty in Canada” was presented on November 24 by Campaign 2000. It comes 15 years after the government made a commitment to eliminate poverty among Canadian children by the year 2000.

This report clearly demonstrates that more and more people are using food banks and are victims of social exclusion. I am outraged; it is disgraceful. More than one million children live in poverty.

The report proposes concrete solutions: increase the availability of decently paid jobs, raise child benefits, create an adequate system of child care based on the Quebec model, expand affordable housing and increase the Canada social transfer.

The government needs only the courage to implement these recommendations because it clearly has the means.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Conservative

Peter MacKay Conservative Central Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the immigration minister refused again to say how many ministerial permits she issued during the campaign. She did state, “I referred the issue in question to the Ethics Commissioner”. We know that is not true. The Ethics Commissioner confirmed that the only issue referred to him was the awarding of one permit to her campaign worker, which occurred after she got caught. The minister herself said it had the appearance of breaking the rules.

The minister has abused her position, ducks accountability, refuses to answer questions, and now misleads the House. Having lost public confidence, will she now resign her post?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Vancouver Centre B.C.

Liberal

Hedy Fry LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, the minister has been appointed to do a job. We have heard in the House about issues dealing with a refugee review. This is being worked on by the minister. The minister is also working on a citizenship act. She is ready to look at the issues that everyone has been complaining about with regard to visas. The minister is busy. She has a job to do and she is getting on with it.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Conservative

Peter MacKay Conservative Central Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, as we speak, public confidence continues to wain. The case of preferential ministerial treatment for a campaign worker has snowballed into Liberal staff visiting strippers on immigration business, application files being discussed in campaign offices, questionable expenses, threats to ministers and members of Parliament, and now cash for permits.

The Prime Minister's continued defence of the minister's mounting ethical breaches confirms the old adage “who do you know in the PMO” is alive and well.

The Ethics Commissioner has given the green light. Will the Prime Minister do away with his well deserved reputation for dithering and simply fire the minister?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Edmonton Centre Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, nobody is dithering. As soon as this item was raised, the matter was referred to the Ethics Commissioner. We want to wait for this independent officer of Parliament to issue his report. It is pretty obvious that this is the appropriate course of action here.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Conservative

Peter MacKay Conservative Central Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, the Ethics Commissioner is there to investigate, not act as a shield for ministers. The National Post has called editorially for the minister to resign. The Ottawa Citizen questions her remaining as minister. Even the Liberal bible, the Toronto Star , says the minister should go. Internationally, there have been stories in the American media, the London Times and the Irish Telegraph .

If the minister will not listen to the House or the media, will she listen to the calls from Canadians who are asking her to restore confidence and competence in her system? Will she stop making a mockery of herself and her department, and simply resign before being shuffled over the Christmas holidays?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Vancouver Centre B.C.

Liberal

Hedy Fry LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, I always find this very interesting. The House asked for an independent ethics counsellor. Members went on and on about an independent ethics counsellor. We now have an independent ethics counsellor, but they are second-guessing the counsellor. They do not want him to finish his job and do what he is supposed to do because they want to second-guess him. We just cannot take seriously anything being said by the group across the way.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Conservative

Betty Hinton Conservative Kamloops—Thompson, BC

Mr. Speaker, the immigration minister continues to evade questions regarding her conduct during the election. Using the Ethics Commissioner as her shield no longer works. The Ethics Commissioner has plainly said, “There is nothing preventing the minister from commenting while under investigation”.

Will the minister stand in this place and tell Canadians, once and for all, how many ministerial permits she issued in total during the last election and how many she issued to individuals affecting her own riding?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Vancouver Centre B.C.

Liberal

Hedy Fry LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, we are back again: let us not let the ethics counsellor do his job; let us just jump the queue and do it for him instead.

The minister has repeatedly said that there are no statistics kept in the department on visas issued by riding. She cannot give something that is not there. There is no information on visas issued by riding. That is it.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Conservative

Jim Prentice Conservative Calgary North Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, for weeks the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration has been telling the House that she is unable to answer questions because they are being considered by the Ethics Commissioner, but the Ethics Commissioner has revealed that this is untrue.

I will tell the House what the minister has been working at to avoid answering the tough questions. The minister has been repeatedly misleading the House. This amounts to nothing less than contempt. When will this disgraceful minister resign?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Edmonton Centre Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, opposition members hurl outrageous allegations over and over again. They impugn people's integrity.

The minister of immigration has been in this House day after day responding to the questions and outrageous misleading allegations of the opposition. Why do we not just let the Ethics Commissioner do his work? We will receive the report. He is an independent officer of Parliament. I think they should respect this independent officer.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, today, on International Human Rights Day, the government needs to examine its conscience. In 2002 Parliament modified the composition of the Immigration and Refugee Board, reducing the number of board members from two to one, and creating an appeal division. The appeal division is still not operational and the minister does not understand how urgent it is that it be implemented.

How can a government that denounces the democratic deficit tolerate this delay in carrying out the will of Parliament and what is it waiting for to implement the refugee appeal division as called for by law?