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House of Commons Hansard #41 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was salaries.

Topics

2 p.m.

The Speaker

As is our practice on Wednesday we will now sing O Canada, and we will be led by the hon. member for Timmins—James Bay.

[Members sang the national anthem]

Canada Economic DevelopmentStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Françoise Boivin Liberal Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, this morning's La Presse reported that R and D expenditures had increased in Quebec. I want to take this opportunity to state that Canada Economic Development had an important role to play in this excellent news.

Canada Economic Development has made innovation one of its top priorities. The relative share of financial assistance granted by the agency to innovation projects has increased considerably over the past five years. In 1999-2000, it was 24% of total financial assistance, while in 2003-04, it reached 61%, for a total of $113.5 million that made it possible to conclude 585 new partnerships.

These figures clearly demonstrate the need for initiatives by Canada Economic Development and confirm our commitment to helping small and medium size businesses in Quebec to develop innovative projects in the coming years, including in the riding of Gatineau.

Natural ResourcesStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Norman Doyle Conservative St. John's North, NL

Mr. Speaker, the House of Commons will soon close for the Christmas break, but we still have no word as to whether the Prime Minister will keep his June election promise to allow Newfoundland and Labrador to keep 100% of its offshore oil revenues.

The Prime Minister has said that he will honour his promise if he can reach an agreement that is good for Canada as well as being good for Newfoundland and Labrador. The real truth is the Prime Minister made his election promise because he thought it would be good for the Liberal Party. There were no strings attached and no conditions in the election campaign.

Letting the province keep 100% of its oil revenues will help us to stand on our own feet economically, and surely that is good for Newfoundland and Labrador and Canada. The Prime Minister said yes to Newfoundland and Labrador during the election campaign. How long does it take to negotiate “yes”?

Orléans - St. Vincent de PaulStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Marc Godbout Liberal Ottawa—Orléans, ON

Mr. Speaker, I wish to bring to the attention of the House the great success of the annual Christmas drive held by the St. Vincent de Paul organization in Orléans last Sunday. During the drive, more than 400 volunteers took to the streets of Orléans. It ended with a supper in the basement of St-Joseph Church. The volunteers collected a whopping $30,000.

This, along with the collection of a great number of food items and clothing, is unprecedented. St. Vincent de Paul members in Orléans have reason to be proud today. Thanks to the generosity of all those volunteers and the people of Orléans, the society will be able to continue its help to more than 150 families in need.

Orléans St. Vincent de Paul is a community model for all Canadians and, on behalf of all those who have benefited from its efforts in the past and all those who will benefit from them in the future, I want to congratulate this organization for its work. Ottawa—Orléans is a great place to live.

I also want to thank and congratulate Ronald Leduc for his ongoing dedication and leadership within the community.

In closing, I invite all my colleagues who are early risers to attend the next event, the guignolée des médias—

Orléans - St. Vincent de PaulStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques.

EducationStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Louise Thibault Bloc Rimouski—Témiscouata, QC

Mr. Speaker, I wish to congratulate Jacqueline Caron of le Bic, on receiving a medal from the Université du Québec à Rimouski at the graduation ceremony held at the Lévis campus this past November.

This distinction was in recognition of Ms. Caron's contributions to education as a teacher, primary and secondary school principal, and educational consultant in Quebec, Canada and francophone Europe. She was also recognized for her contribution to creating an inspiring continuing education program for teachers.

At the ceremony, Ms. Caron expressed five wishes for the teaching profession, which were indicative of the life-long values guiding this consummate teacher.

Congratulations and thank you, Ms. Caron.

Shaar Shalom SynagogueStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Susan Kadis Liberal Thornhill, ON

Mr. Speaker, it brings me great pleasure to rise in the House today to speak about the 30th anniversary of the Shaar Shalom Synagogue in my vibrant riding of Thornhill. The synagogue has doubled in size over the last 30 years, and is currently one of the largest community based facilities in my riding.

At the anniversary gala dinner last Sunday, two distinguished congregants, Keith Landy and Erma Bader, were recognized for their outstanding work over the last number of years.

The congregation is renowned for bringing the community together and encouraging the family approach, one in which everyone is welcomed. The congregation's intent is to go from strength to strength, serving the community. This joyous event fits so well as the Jewish festival of Hanukkah approaches.

It brings me great pleasure to say bravo to the Shaar Shalom Synagogue, and happy Hanukkah.

Sable IslandStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

John Duncan Conservative Vancouver Island North, BC

Mr. Speaker, the federal government assumed responsibility from Nova Scotia for managing Sable Island in 1867.

In 2000, federal cost cutting led to Sable Island Preservation Trust taking over responsibility for operating the station. The trust has now given notice to terminate activities next April due to further federal funding reductions.

The annual cost to run the station is about $1.2 million. This maintains five people on staff and they are important as the only human presence on this fragile island.

Recently the government set up a multi-departmental group to make recommendations about the federal future role on Sable Island. The working group has now recommended that the station remain open and the federal government once again assume full responsibility.

I urge the government to adopt the recommendations of the working group.

Global Positioning SystemStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Anthony Rota Liberal Nipissing—Timiskaming, ON

Mr. Speaker, a new instructional manual and DVD developed in my riding will help solve the learning dilemma for many global positioning system users.

A book entitled, What Do Those Numbers Mean Anyway? , written by Bill Steer, has recently been published by the Canadian Ecology Centre Foundation. The visual and written content explains the relationship between the map, the compass and the GPS unit.

According to Ken Waller, a professor at Nipissing University in North Bay, there is a real need to have consumers and those working in rural situations properly trained to understand these basics.

This book will serve to educate paramedics, police and fire personnel, educational and outdoor leaders, as well as those working for utility companies, so the GPS technology can be used efficiency and enhance overall safety.

On behalf of the people of Nipissing--Timiskaming and all hon. members, I wish to congratulate Bill Steer on his excellent work, and would encourage anyone who spends time in the outdoors to buy a copy of

What Do Those Numbers Mean Anyway?

Marie-Hélène PrémontStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Charlevoix—Montmorency, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to draw hon. members' attention to the phenomenal accomplishments of cyclist Marie-Hélène Prémont of Château-Richer. On November 30, she was proclaimed athlete of the year for the Quebec City region and awarded the Mémoris d'or.

Marie-Hélène is an international calibre mountain biker, who has excelled on the world cup circuit in this specialty. Her performances this year have shown without a doubt that she a top notch athlete.

At the Athens Olympics, she competed in sweltering heat of close to 40 degrees Celsius, and her amazing determination and courage earned her a silver medal in the mountain biking event, the culmination of many years of sacrifice and hard work.

This was the first time a Quebec competitor has every come away from the Olympics with a silver in cycling, and these were her first Olympics. Marie-Hélène is determined to continue to make her mark on the world scene.

We extend congratulations on all her successes, to Marie-Hélène. Côte-de-Beaupré, all of Quebec is proud of her.

Peacekeeping Service MedalStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Maria Minna Liberal Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay homage to Mr. Domenic Cirone, a constituent of mine and a recent recipient of the Canadian Peacekeeping Service Medal on behalf of the Department of National Defence.

In 1993 Mr. Cirone was recruited by CARE Canada to work for the United Nations Protection Force. Domenic was dispatched in May 1993 and was stationed in the territories formerly known as Yugoslavia, routinely travelling to wartorn areas of eastern and southern Croatia and northwest Bosnia-Herzegovina. During that time, Domenic exemplified the Canadian spirit while serving on behalf of our country.

Queen Elizabeth II approved the Canadian Peacekeeping Service Medal in 1997. It recognizes the service of Canadians deployed outside our country with the agreement of the Canadian government in support of United Nations peacekeeping missions. I have the honour of awarding Domenic this prestigious award later this afternoon.

I ask all members of the House to join me in congratulating Domenic on his service and commitment to this country.

The SenateStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Ken Epp Conservative Edmonton—Sherwood Park, AB

Mr. Speaker, the prime ditherer over there keeps saying that he favours democratic, parliamentary and senatorial reform. However he just cannot bring himself to do anything about it.

Albertans have just elected the people they want to represent them in their upper house. Now the prime ditherer has a choice. When he fills the three Alberta vacancies, he can either choose people from his list of Liberal Party hacks or he can choose from the list that the people of Alberta have given him, democratically chosen.

Since in either case he will be appointing people from a list, I would like him to explain how choosing from his personal list of people he wants to reward is more democratic than choosing from the people's list.

I dare him to stop being so chicken. Why not take at least one bold decisive step instead of allowing the democratic deficit to grow and grow?

Foreign Credential RecognitionStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Gurbax Malhi Liberal Bramalea—Gore—Malton, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canada's economic prosperity will increasingly rely on new immigrant workers until we reach the point where all net labour force growth will be immigrant based.

In light of this, we must do a better job of recognizing the education and credentials that newcomers receive from other countries.

It is for this reason that on December 6 I visited stakeholders in Calgary. I wanted to discuss the issues of foreign credential recognition and to hear about other barriers to employment that skilled newcomers face.

I am happy to say that the Government of Canada is working diligently with its partners to address this important issue. Our partners include the provinces, the territories, regulatory bodies, sector councils, colleges, schools, unions and others.

Our work on foreign credential recognition is a critical component of the government's new workplace skills strategy, which seeks to ensure a highly skilled, adaptable and resilient workforce; a flexible and efficient labour market; and that the needs of employers and workers are met.

HealthStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, December 1 marked World AIDS Day and also the beginning of the international year of recognizing women and girls with HIV-AIDS.

There is much that Canada could be doing to help women and girls living with HIV-AIDS, TB and malaria around the world. There is also something Canada should be doing for women and their children living with HIV-AIDS here in Canada.

Canadians secondarily infected with HIV receive lesser compensation than victims infected with the hep C between 1986-90.

Now that fund of $1.1 billion has a surplus intended to benefit this group as well, which numbers 100 people, the majority being women and their children. We must not leave them out. They must be included as equals in the negotiations. They are not asking for special favours, and we agree.

EuthanasiaStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Jason Kenney Conservative Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, 60 years ago Canadian troops were fighting and dying in Holland for the liberation of that country from the evil of the Nazi regime. That regime represented a culture of death which began with a deliberate policy of euthanizing those deemed weak, infirm or imperfect.

In a sad irony, Holland has now chosen to embark on the same slippery slope toward desacralizing human life.

Three years ago the Dutch parliament made it legal for doctors to kill adult patients deemed to be suffering. Now the Dutch medical association has proposed legalizing the killing of children under the age of 12, including infants.

Predictably, this practice has already begun, with the revelation that sick babies are being killed in Dutch hospitals, babies that obviously cannot give their consent for their lives to be taken by medical professionals in cold blood.

The slippery slope has become a vertical cliff. Holland today has become a cautionary tale for those here in Canada who would legitimize the taking of an innocent human life. We hope that our friends in Holland will reconsider this slippery slope and embrace the values of those who liberated them 60 years ago.

HanukkahStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Richard Marceau Bloc Charlesbourg, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Jewish festival of Hanukkah began yesterday at sundown. In Quebec, across Canada and around the world, Jews will be celebrating the victory of the Maccabees in the first national war of liberation, which is an integral part of the liturgy of Hanukkah.

On this occasion, the first candle of the chanukiyah is lit using the shamash candle. The chanukiyah candelabrum has nine branches, including the shamash, unlike the traditional menorah, which has seven. An additional candle is lit every day for eight days.

According to Jewish tradition, the light dissipates the darkness by introducing clarity. It represents the triumph of enlightenment over obscurity and victory over oppression and assimilation. This light is the symbolic representation of a living Judaism.

Beshem ahmitai ba Bloc Québecois, anee mihvahkesh

Le shloah shefa brahote le hag Hanukkah sameah le kol

Haverenu haezraheem ha youhudeem.

On behalf of my colleagues in the Bloc Québécois, I want to extend our most sincere best wishes to our Jewish compatriots for a happy Hanukkah.

HanukkahStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Reid Conservative Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington, ON

Mr. Speaker, last night, with the setting of the sun, millions of families across the globe lit candles to celebrate the first day of Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of lights.

Every year when the days are darkest and the nights are longest, this festival of hope and light causes all of us, Jews and non-Jews alike, to remember a miracle that occurred more than 2,000 years ago when Judas Maccabee and the people of Israel drove the Seleucid invaders from Jerusalem, but found the temple in ruins.

Only a single jar of pure oil could be found to light the huge menorah, but miraculously, this tiny supply of oil lasted for eight full days and thereby became a symbol of hope to all civilized people that neither barbarism nor tyranny can extinguish the light of true faith.

This is a festival of special joy in which the lighted menorah is placed in an open window or door so that all may share in this light.

Mr. Speaker, I wish you, all members of the House, and every Canadian, a very happy Hanukkah.

AgricultureStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Adams Liberal Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, the BSE crisis has driven home to us the importance of being able to track cattle, sheep and all animals used for food. Our primitive tagging system for beef cattle allowed us to track the single animal that triggered this crisis back to her home farm.

International expectations are now such that much more sophisticated tracking will be required in the future. I urge that we move directly from tags to DNA tracking, bypassing the computer chip implant system which some propose.

Canada is a leading nation in genetics, including DNA research. A simple, cheap test at birth, or on entry into the country, provides a unique identification for each animal. Using this, the animal can be tracked throughout its life and meat from every animal can be identified.

The RCMP has a sophisticated national DNA database system. It would be easy to extend it to produce a national DNA system for cattle, sheep and other ruminants. Let us do this now and invest in our farmers.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, yesterday I asked about an illegal unreported proxy donation to the immigration minister. It turns out that the real donor sits on the Liberal riding executive and stickhandles immigration cases, and during the election the minister funnelled eight ministerial permits to this donor's group.

I ask the Prime Minister, will he admit that this is the real reason the minister did not report the donation in the first place?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the minister has already said that very soon after she learned of the donation she informed Elections Canada and she returned the donation. That is what she has done and she did it very soon after she learned of the donation. She has stated that. Those are the facts.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I guess the standard over there is that they can deal with something once they are caught.

That is an operation I would call cash for permits.

The immigration minister told her Liberal colleagues that she would not issue ministerial permits during the election and then she turned around, went behind their backs and handed out at least a dozen permits to her own political donors and campaign workers.

This is my question for the Prime Minister. Does he know how many ministerial permits the minister handed out to her riding and supporters during the election campaign?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

York West Ontario

Liberal

Judy Sgro LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, I have to tell you that I find that line of questioning absolutely deplorable.

The Ahmadiyya movement in this country is a highly respected, highly established group of people, probably reaching about one million people. The fact that those members would turn around and smear the reputation of an organization that has contributed so much to building this great country is frankly disgusting.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

What is disgusting, Mr. Speaker, is that the minister will never answer a straight question until she is caught red-handed.

We all know about the preferential treatment for the stripper program, yet Canadians can see today on television the Bondarenko family put to sea in a rickety boat in the north Atlantic during winter. I wonder how the Prime Minister and his immigration minister, the minister of hopes and dreams, can explain these priorities of compassion and humanitarianism to Canadians.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Edmonton Centre Alberta

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the family in question is presently in Halifax. It is difficult to talk about any individual case, but I want to reassure the hon. leader of the official opposition that both the Department of Citizenship and Immigration and the Canada Border Services Agency are dealing with this family in an appropriate fashion.

Air Transportation SecurityOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

Peter MacKay Conservative Central Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, a Senate report on national security and defence said today that Canadians depend mainly on luck when it comes to national security. The committee, like the Auditor General last spring, identifies inadequate background checks of airport employees and a lack of controls in restricted areas as major security problems. The Minister of Transport's “the dog ate my homework” attitude over the loss of more than 1,100 uniforms is alarming.

Will the minister now listen to his Senate colleagues and the Auditor General and immediately begin rigorous background checks on those with access to restricted areas, before his luck runs out?