This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

House of Commons Hansard #40 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was cards.

Topics

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Paradis Liberal Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Mr. Speaker, this morning, the coalition of mayors of municipalities affected by the closure of RCMP detachments in Quebec appeared before the Standing Committee on Justice, Human Rights, Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.

First, I want to congratulate the mayors on the quality of the report they presented. They clearly demonstrated the threat posed by removing the RCMP from our regions, a concern that is shared by the Quebec Liberal caucus, as well as many of our colleagues in this House.

The decision to close the RCMP regional detachments in Quebec needs to be reconsidered. We cannot allow our regions to be vulnerable to crime. Let me quote an except from the mayors' report:

Criminals and organized crime have no regional, municipal or other boundaries and they do not need consultation studies or to testify before committees in order to act. They are wherever we are, seeking the weak link. Let us not allow them to take over our territory, because you can be sure they will take it, if they have not already done so.

Let us act while there is still time.

AgricultureStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Barry Devolin Conservative Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock, ON

Mr. Speaker, farmers across Canada agree on one thing, and that is the CAIS program does not work and it needs a major overhaul.

In my opinion, the most compelling evidence of the failure of CAIS is the fact that most farmers have not even bothered to sign up for the program yet, almost three years after it was first introduced. In Kawartha Lakes, where I come from, it has been reported that just 47 out of several hundred farmers have opened CAIS accounts.

If CAIS is as great as the Liberals say, why have more farmers not signed up for it? There are only two possible answers to that question. Either farmers are making a mistake because they do not understand what is good for them, or this really is a lousy program that farmers rightly understand is of little value to them.

In my opinion, I would say the farmers are right.

If the Liberals really want to make CAIS work, they should not rest until a majority of farmers deem it worth their while to sign up for an overhauled CAIS program. It is time for the government to stop proclaiming the virtues of an obviously flawed program and get on with the job of fixing it.

Polyvalente A.M. SormanyStatements By Members

December 7th, 2004 / 2:05 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, last week, I had the opportunity to meet two groups of students at the Polyvalente A.M. Sormany, in Edmunston, New Brunswick, to discuss with them my role as member of Parliament and the role of the government. I can attest to the interest these young people have in Canadian politics.

The questions asked by these students were surprisingly relevant, and I am convinced that such meetings should take place more frequently to stimulate the interest of young Canadians in Canadian politics.

I wish to thank teacher Simon Nadeau and his students for inviting me to their class. I hope that this experience proved as profitable for them as it was for me.

Human RightsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Tony Martin NDP Sault Ste. Marie, ON

Mr. Speaker, this past weekend in Sault Ste. Marie I attended a remarkable meeting at St. Matthew's Anglican Church. It was part of a national women's peace building tour hosted by KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives. This meeting shone a light on the devastating effects of conflict on human rights, with a particular emphasis on the impact war has on women.

Elizabeth Majok from the New Sudan Council of Churches spoke of the harm done to the Sudanese people, first by Talisman and now by Chinese companies taking jobs from her fellow countrymen in the oil fields. She made it clear that the Canadian government must exercise greater leadership at the United Nations to influence the international community. Any peace agreement must affirm the principles of human rights, justice, self-determination, pluralism, as well as address the root causes of the different conflicts in Sudan.

I have petitions, with 3,000 signatures, that make these points. I will be tabling them in the House next week.

Firearms RegistryStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Joy Smith Conservative Kildonan—St. Paul, MB

Mr. Speaker, the federal gun registry will not be fully operational until 2007, 12 years after it was approved by Parliament and with a price tag of over $1 billion, representing cost overruns of nearly 7,000%, ranking the gun registry as one of the biggest Liberal lies in a long list of others.

A constituent of mine recently contacted me to inform me that while he was asked to pay to renew his licence, friends and family members were being given free renewals. Apparently, the government thinks it is fair to charge some Canadians for something while it lets others do it for free. If nothing else, government programs should at least be equally applied.

It is time for the government to admit that it was wrong to implement this registry, that it was wrong to spend more than a billion dollars on it and that it is willing to work with this side of the House to find solutions to gun violence that will work for Canadians.

The EnvironmentStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Raynald Blais Bloc Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine, QC

Mr. Speaker, even though the Minister of the Environment appealed the decision on the Bennett toxic waste incinerator in Belledune, no moratorium was imposed on the plant's operations.

How can the minister try to make us believe that an environmental impact assessment of the potential transborder effects of this project is necessary and justified, when no stoppage of operations was ordered?

The Minister of the Environment has all the necessary powers to ask the court for an injunction to prevent tests from being conducted at that plant until the Federal Court of Appeal issues its ruling. Moreover, the federal government could invoke the Fisheries Act and close the plant for the period that it deems necessary, so as to proceed with an environmental impact study.

People in eastern Quebec and New Brunswick are urging the government to act responsibly regarding this issue, and they are demanding nothing less than a moratorium.

Conservative Party of CanadaStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Steven Fletcher Conservative Charleswood—St. James, MB

Mr. Speaker, one year ago this month the members of the Canadian Alliance and Progressive Conservative Parties voted overwhelmingly to unite and provide Canadians with a real alternative to this tired, old, corrupt, crooked, fraudulent, shady, deceitful, pathetic and wretched Liberal government.

From coast to coast to coast, Canadians demanded a united Conservative Party. In true bridge building fashion, the Leader of the Opposition and the deputy leader of the Conservative Party invited all Canadians to support our new party and bring good government back to Canada.

In one year, the new Conservative Party has accomplished a great deal. We have 99 MPs and we are on the cusp of forming government.

The Conservative Party will become the natural governing party for Canadians in the generations to come. Thank goodness for the Conservative Party. God keep our land glorious and Liberal free.

VolunteerismStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Ken Boshcoff Liberal Thunder Bay—Rainy River, ON

Mr. Speaker, in 1979 the United Nations officially named December 5 as International Volunteer Day, a day to recognize and celebrate volunteers around the world for their contributions and dedication.

Recent figures indicated that more than 6.5 million Canadians volunteered just over two billion hours of their time to charitable and voluntary organizations in the past year. This is the equivalent of one million full time jobs.

Clearly, without these committed volunteers, organizations such as the United Way, chambers of commerce and arts councils would be unable to provide the valuable and varied services they do.

In communities large and small, volunteers put their time and effort into making life better for themselves and those around them. I ask my fellow parliamentarians to join me in recognizing those volunteers from across this great land.

Cercle des artistes peintres et sculpteurs du QuébecStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Nicole Demers Bloc Laval, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to pay tribute to Mireille Forget, a resident of Laval, who received the Médaille de l'Assemblée nationale du Québec. Ms. Forget was given this award in recognition of her work as president of the Cercle des artistes peintres et sculpteurs du Québec.

Ms. Forget has promoted cultural diversity for 20 years, without any financial assistance from the government. This Cercle is an association that gives artists the opportunity to exhibit their work, participate in workshops, conferences and competitions, and travel.

Ms. Forget has already received international recognition with a Médaille de l'Assemblée nationale de la République française in 1998. She has also won numerous awards and distinctions in France, Spain and Japan.

She works with dedication to help artists from Quebec and Laval gain international recognition and allow Quebec culture to take its place on the international stage.

Congratulations to Mireille Forget.

FisheriesStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer NDP Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, it has come to our attention that there is the possibility that a company called Aqua Bounty from Prince Edward Island may be applying to the minister and the Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food through CFIA for permission to commercially sell genetically modified fish, or what we call genetically engineered fish.

We would like to send a message to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and the Minister of Agriculture that if indeed this is correct, which we believe it is, we will be the first country in the world to have this. We simply cannot allow that type of activity in our aquaculture or commercial sectors.

We would like to send a warning, a clear warning, a shot across the bow of the Liberal ship: do not allow genetically engineered or genetically modified fish to enter the commercial market in Canada.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, reports today suggest that the immigration minister was funnelling illegal proxy donations through a campaign worker, but apparently she says that in breaking the election law she did nothing wrong.

We have had the stripper program defended, queue jumping, failing to report a deportee, and business done at strip clubs. How many rules does the minister have to break before the Prime Minister fires her?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, very clearly the preamble to the question of the Leader of the Opposition has no basis in fact. I understand that the minister, having learned of this donation, forthwith took the steps that were required. She has notified Elections Canada and she has returned the donation.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, that is an interesting move, except that this morning her spokespeople were saying there was nothing wrong with actually getting the donation.

We learned today that the minister's right-hand man met with more than one strip club owner, with multiple strip club owners, doing immigration business at strip clubs. Since I assume it is not standard practice for chiefs of staff to make house calls, has the Prime Minister inquired of the immigration minister as to why her chief of staff would be doing government business at a strip club?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Once again, Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition ought to support the role of the independent Ethics Commissioner who reports to Parliament. The minister has referred this matter to the Ethics Commissioner, who is looking into it and will make a full report, at her request.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, what I think we would all support would be some leadership from the Prime Minister.

From the London Times to Ireland's Telegraph to CNN, the international community is laughing at the Prime Minister and his immigration minister. The immigration minister is making an international embarrassment of this department. When is the Prime Minister going to show the required leadership and just fire the minister?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

First of all, Mr. Speaker, the hon. member, the minister of immigration, has done a very good job in restructuring the department. She has done a tremendous job in opening up this country to immigration across the country. She is working very hard on resettlement. What the hon. minister is doing is making sure that this is a country that is open to immigrants, unlike many of the countries cited in the hon. member's question.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

Diane Ablonczy Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, a minister's job is to serve the people of Canada. Instead, the immigration minister was serving her own political interests and doing special favours for her political supporters. The Liberals are trying to ignore this unethical conduct even though it is staring them in the face.

The public demands principled leadership and they want the problem corrected. Instead, the Prime Minister dithers and delays. When will the Prime Minister do the right thing and fire this minister?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the minister has restructured her department. She has opened up this country to much greater immigration. She is putting more officers into the field. She is working very hard on the question of resettlement. That is the job of the immigration minister, that is what she is doing, and I support her.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

Diane Ablonczy Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, this is about what the immigration minister is doing wrong. Not only Canadians but now the international community wonder why the Liberal government makes no effort to protect our country's reputation and remove a minister under a serious ethical cloud.

Questions about the integrity and fairness of Canada's immigration system have already been reported in England, Ireland, South Africa, the U.S. and Romania. The Prime Minister has a duty to protect our country's reputation from disgrace. Why does the Prime Minister not remove the minister?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, if the hon. member does not support the role of the independent Ethics Commissioner, let her stand up in this House and say that. The fact is that we created an independent office for that very reason. It was so that in fact partisanship would not enter into these kinds of discussions. Now let the independent Ethics Commissioner do his job.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier, QC

Mr. Speaker, not only did the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration push through a resident permit for a person who had worked on her election campaign; not only did she approve a questionable federal program; but, she received a $5,000 donation to her campaign from a front man, which is clearly illegal.

Considering the weight of the allegations that are accumulating, will the Prime Minister ask for the resignation of the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, or will he continue to throw caution to the winds?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as soon as the minister was informed of this donation she acted with complete transparency, reported it to Elections Canada, and returned the donation. That is why I support her.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has at least one thing in common with former Prime Minister Chrétien: he is giving the minister his support the way his predecessor gave Alfonso Gagliano his unconditional support.

The minister is embarrassing the government and discrediting its institutions. The Prime Minister is not a man of decision, but a man of hesitation.

Therefore, I ask the minister herself to act responsibly for once, and do the only honourable thing she can do: resign.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, why does the leader of the Bloc Québécois refuse to accept the fact that there is an independent ethics commissioner looking into this matter? That is the commissioner's role. I think we should let him do his work.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Meili Faille Bloc Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration was mixed up in questionable activities and is now the subject of serious allegations regarding a $5,000 contribution to her election fund, possibly for services rendered.

Given that her department's client base is not always familiar with how things are done in Canada, does the minister not consider that she is sending the wrong message to newcomers about how to go about doing things here and that her presence at the helm of the department has become a very heavy liability to the government?