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House of Commons Hansard #143 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was surplus.

Topics

Richard LamontagneStatements by Members

October 27th, 2005 / 2:05 p.m.

Bloc

France Bonsant Bloc Compton—Stanstead, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to tell hon. members about Richard Lamontagne, a sensitive and determined man who is deeply concerned about the well-being of the disabled.

Mr. Lamontagne has recently seen his 25 years of volunteer work recognized with the Dollard-Morin award for the Eastern Townships sector. This is an annual award given to volunteers who have excelled in sports and recreation though the quality of their involvement, enthusiasm and commitment.

Mr. Lamontagne organizes dances for the developmentally disabled, attended by an average of 180 participants from all over the Eastern Townships region.

He has been a volunteer at the Special Olympics, and for the Sherbrooke association for the developmentally disabled, where he was actively involved in fundraising and other activities.

Thank you, Richard, on behalf of the Bloc Québécois and all those who benefit from your support. This award was richly deserved.

Saint-Joseph-de-Madawaska Fire BrigadeStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, today I want to take advantage of this opportunity to address the House to mark the 25th anniversary of the Saint-Joseph-de-Madawaska fire brigade in my riding of Madawaska—Restigouche in New Brunswick.

I wish to acknowledge the important contribution to the community made by the members of the Saint Joseph fire brigade. Thanks to the dedication of these brave volunteers the community is protected and given the peace of mind it needs. These firefighters do not hesitate to lay their lives on the line when there is a fire and that deserves to be recognized.

I call on hon. members from across Canada to pay tribute to our firefighters. I want to thank all the members past and present of the Saint-Joseph-de-Madawaska fire brigade for 25 fine years of service to the community.

Canada-U.S. RelationsStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Russ Hiebert Conservative South Surrey—White Rock—Cloverdale, BC

Mr. Speaker, last night on the Hill, the Parliamentary Border Caucus met again to discuss issues of trade and security affecting the Canada-U.S. border. We were honoured to have the new U.S. Ambassador, David Wilkins, join us for a lively discussion about the Canada-U.S. relationship.

Of course, we talked about trade issues such as the softwood lumber dispute. The ambassador demonstrated he is well versed on the issue.

Among the other issues discussed were the details of how the western hemisphere travel initiative would affect those crossing the border in the future. Border MPs are concerned that the possibility of a “passport only” policy will damage tourism in their ridings. The high cost and inconvenience of passports will discourage many Canadians and Americans from travelling.

Instead, the border caucus proposes that both the U.S. and Canadian governments look at improving the security standards of other forms of government-issued ID, such as driver's licences, health cards and birth certificates.

I want to thank Ambassador Wilkins for his attendance and for his willingness to engage the border caucus on these all important issues.

New Canadian ProgramStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Andrew Telegdi Liberal Kitchener—Waterloo, ON

Mr. Speaker, the New Canadian Program, an organization in my riding of Kitchener--Waterloo, has received one of 20 Citation for Citizenship awards.

This honour is given every two years to groups and individuals from across the country which have demonstrated exemplary citizenship by assisting newcomers to Canada to successfully integrate into Canadian society.

New Canadians are part of our labour market future and successfully integrating them into our communities and our workforce must be a priority.

For the past 13 years, the New Canadian Program has assisted close to 1,500 professional newcomers to Canada in connecting with businesses that can use their skills. Of these clients, 65% to 75% have found employment in their related professions.

Congratulations to the New Canadian Program and continued success in the future.

LiteracyStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, today we are celebrating Literacy Action Day. Advocates from Nova Scotia and every corner of Canada are here to press for a desperately needed pan-Canadian literacy plan to develop a quality adult literacy and education system, to address barriers to learning and social inclusion, to develop and share knowledge and to develop partnerships for a learning society.

Of Canadians aged 16 to 65, 42% lack minimum literacy skills. Studies show a 1% rise in literacy skills will drive a 2.5% increase in labour productivity and a 1.5% increase in GDP. That is $13 billion each and every year.

It is bad enough that the federal government imposes GST on books. To expand the GST to include books and CD-ROMs makes a mockery of the limited literacy support from the government. This counterproductive measure must be reversed and more resources invested in a comprehensive literacy plan in the upcoming budget.

The private member's bill that I will be introducing will remove GST from books and pamphlets. It is a small step toward helping increase literacy in Canada.

The EnvironmentStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Bob Mills Conservative Red Deer, AB

Mr. Speaker, after 12 years at the top and 30 years in total, Gwyn Morgan has announced he will be stepping down as chief executive officer of EnCana Corporation.

Gwyn took Alberta Energy, merged it with Pan-Canadian and made EnCana the second largest capitalized company in Canada. On this, Alberta's 100th birthday, Gwyn represents the true Alberta entrepreneurial spirit.

As the environment critic, one would probably wonder why I would be paying tribute to this industry leader. Let me tell the House that I have had the opportunity to consult with Gwyn and the opportunity to work with him and learn from him regarding an environmental vision for the country.

Gwyn knows caring for the environment is good, not only for the environment but for business too. Today's business leaders could learn a lot from a guy like Gwyn Morgan.

Good luck to Gwyn in his retirement. I am sure Canadians will be hearing more from him in the future.

LiteracyStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Paule Brunelle Bloc Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, on this Literacy Action Day I want to pay tribute to all those involved in adult literacy.

In my riding of Trois-Rivières, there are several literacy groups including COMSEP and Ebyôn.

Several hundred people participate in their workshops, which are run by a number of volunteers. Helping adults to learn to read gives them the keys to the world.

What is more, the participants become more informed on economic, social, political and cultural issues and meet new people, thereby making important social connections.

Attending the literacy and popular education workshops helps participants become aware of their problems, find suitable solutions and take action to improve their lot.

We wish the literacy groups many more years of success.

Aboriginal VeteransStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Jeremy Harrison Conservative Churchill River, SK

Mr. Speaker, I rise today with respect and honour for our aboriginal war veterans and to offer my best wishes to the delegation of aboriginal veterans, youth and spiritual leaders travelling in pilgrimage to the battlefields of Europe.

Last year the House passed my private member's motion calling on the government to recognize and fairly compensate the brave sacrifices of our aboriginal veterans. It is the will of the House, and I believe it is the will of all Canadians, to embrace and repay the contributions of these veterans with a spirit of respect and gratitude.

Regretfully, the Liberal government has failed the legacy of these brave warriors. The entire cabinet voted against my proposal for equal treatment of aboriginal war veterans. The government neglected to invite the Aboriginal Veterans Association to the lying in state of Smokey Smith and it has refused repeated pleas to remove negative depictions of aboriginal veterans from the Canadian War Museum.

The Liberal government should act now, in accordance with the will of the House, to officially recognize and fairly compensate these brave aboriginal warriors who sacrificed so much to leave us a legacy of freedom.

Women's History MonthStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Françoise Boivin Liberal Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, everyone knows that October is Women's History Month in Canada. It is also an opportunity to celebrate the many achievements and contributions of Canadian women in every facet of our society.

Among these achievements is the growing number of women earning a professional degree. Currently, 20% of all professionals in mathematics, natural sciences and engineering, 58% in social science and religion, and 49% in administration are women.

The list goes on. Some 52.1% of city managers are women, as are 46% of all union members, 27% of all senior managers and 47% of all doctors and dentists.

Four of the nine justices on the Supreme Court of Canada are also women, making it the most gender-balanced high court in the world.

I ask my colleagues to join me in congratulating the women of this country on their remarkable progress toward gender equality.

Philippe BonneauStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, it is my great pleasure to pay tribute to one of my most renowned constituents, Mr. Philippe Bonneau, who celebrated his 75th birthday on October 1.

Alderman and mayor of Châteauguay from 1962 to 1983, Mr. Bonneau founded the municipal housing bureau in 1978. He was an influential member of the board of the local community health centre in Châteauguay during the 1980s and 1990s, and received the Agnès-C.-Higgins award in 1997 as the founder and president of Rencontre châteaugoise, an organization dedicated to helping the most vulnerable members of our society.

In 2000, he created an eponymous foundation to assist organizations fighting poverty and helping those in need. That same year, he received the municipal merit award for his outstanding commitment to his community.

Congratulations, Mr. Bonneau. Your career dedicated to serving the people of our community is an example to us all.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister made a solemn promise to be completely transparent about the sponsorship scandal.

What is more, Susan Murray, a government spokesperson, promised that the Gomery report would be available as soon as the government got a copy.

Will the Prime Minister keep his promise and give a copy of the report to the three opposition leaders as soon as he gets his copy?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the leader of the opposition must know that the appropriate process will be followed in keeping with the needs and requests of the commission.

We do not intend to interfere in the procedures recommended by the commission. Justice Gomery decided on them and we will follow his recommendations.

JusticeOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Stephen Harper Conservative Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, I take that to be the Prime Minister's weaseling out of his commitment to make it totally available to everybody at the same time.

Let me go to a second question. When the United States Secretary of State was here, the Prime Minister claimed that 50% of gun crimes in Canada are committed with weapons smuggled from the United States, but the RCMP and the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police say that this number is unsubstantiated. In fact, PMO officials apparently have admitted that the figure was just grabbed out of thin air.

Will the Prime Minister admit that he invents gun crime statistics for the same reason he invents meetings with victims' families? His government has been totally unable to control gun crime in this country.

JusticeOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, what I said is that this is what I had been told. Perhaps the hon. member should do his research a little better. On August 10, 2005, the Toronto Star said:

Mayor David Miller and Police Chief Bill Blair said this week that more has to be done to prevent the flow of guns across the border, since 50% of the firearms used in crime here come from the United States.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Stephen Harper Conservative Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, maybe the Prime Minister should go to actual crime statistics rather than the mayor of Toronto.

In any case, on another matter, it is clear that the problem in Kashechewan starts with the incompetence of the Minister of Indian Affairs. This minister goes to the reserve, refuses to drink the water or sleep there and returns to Ottawa, knows all about the problems, and does nothing about them for weeks on end.

This has been one of the saddest and most disgraceful performances by a minister in the history of this House. Will the Prime Minister step up, do the right thing and finally ask for the resignation of this minister?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, it is clear the Leader of the Opposition thinks that insulting the mayor of Toronto, insulting the chief of police of Toronto or in fact insulting the Minister of Indian Affairs is the answer to the question. It is not.

What is required is policy. What is required is action and that is what the government intends to take. That is what the Minister of Indian Affairs intends to take. We are concerned about the people on the reserve and that is what we will deal with.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

Jim Prentice Conservative Calgary North Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, on August 19 the people of Kashechewan met with the Minister of Indian Affairs and they begged for his help. He did nothing. For eight desperate, squalid weeks, these Canadians were poisoned by E. coli and hepatitis. This minister knew and he slept.

This minister cannot be trusted with the lives of those who cannot defend themselves, so on behalf of aboriginal Canadians in our society, who are the poorest of the poor, I ask this minister to resign.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

I am not sure there is a question, but if the minister wishes to respond he may.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Fredericton New Brunswick

Liberal

Andy Scott LiberalMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians

Mr. Speaker, I met with the people from Kashechewan in August. They gave me a proposal. We have been working on that proposal since August. It is a comprehensive solution for the people of that community and we will be presenting the proposal to the leadership of that community tonight.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

Jim Prentice Conservative Calgary North Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, these Canadians begged the minister for help. He did nothing--

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. The hon. member for Calgary Centre-North.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

Jim Prentice Conservative Calgary North Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, these Canadians begged the minister for help and he did nothing.

During the August 19 meeting, the chief of Kashechewan presented the minister with a binder describing the squalor, the sewage-contaminated water and the condemned houses. The minister did nothing for eight weeks. He did not write to them. He did not call them. He did not fix the water system. He did not evacuate the community. It was left to Ontario to take care of this problem.

Will the minister resign?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, for well over a year and a half this minister has devoted 24 hours a day to aboriginal Canadians. We have had cabinet meetings with aboriginal leaders. We have had round tables. He has done everything to build up toward the first ministers meeting.

Day after day the opposition has said nothing in support of aboriginal Canadians. Day after day those members have voted against every single measure we have brought forward for aboriginal Canadians. That critic and that opposition ought to resign.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!