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House of Commons Hansard #153 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was seniors.

Topics

Status of WomenStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Françoise Boivin Liberal Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, as the chair of the Liberal women's caucus, I am pleased to report on a number of measures taken by our government with a view to fostering gender equality in Canada.

Among these are: extension of parental leave to one year; a national child care and early childhood education system which will see 250,000 spaces created by 2009; ongoing improvements to the Canada child tax benefit, which, by 2007, will have increased by over 100% since its inception in 1996.

Each year, with a view to counteracting violence against women, the government devotes $32 million to the national crime prevention initiative and $7 million to the family violence initiative. As well, the government recently approved the allocation of $5 million to the Native Women's Association of Canada to combat violence toward aboriginal women.

Women's health is one of this government's priorities. The government has created five centres of excellence for women's health, as well as the Institute of Gender and Health.

These are just some of the initiatives taken by the government in favour of women. It is therefore obvious that—

Status of WomenStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Ottawa Centre.

Concert Hall ProposalStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

NDP

Ed Broadbent NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the city of Ottawa is already the proud home of the world's largest chamber music festival. It now has the opportunity to become the home to a splendid new concert hall.

This hall has been proposed by the Ottawa Chamber Music Society and has been endorsed by the City of Ottawa which has committed $6.5 million in funding. The project is dependent, however, on both the Government of Ontario and the Government of Canada matching this amount.

Many of us in Ottawa are excited at the prospect of a badly needed new concert hall. Ottawa is the only capital city in the western world without such a facility. It would be a major benefit for the cultural life of the citizens of Ottawa and for all those thousands of tourists who make Ottawa their destination.

I urge the government to decide in the coming week to provide the Ottawa Chamber Music Society with the matching $6.5 million which is essential for this important project.

Canadian HeritageStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Conservative

Bev Oda Conservative Clarington—Scugog—Uxbridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, the heritage committee met with the CBC president and its senior management to discuss the impact of the seven week lockout on Canadians.

In response, my motion asking the government to establish an independent task force to review the mandate, role and services of CBC-SRC was passed by the committee. The Conservatives in this House support Canada's public broadcasters.

Last week the government's heritage minister was against a similar motion for review of the CBC by Liberals in Quebec. Will she not support the CBC, listen to Quebeckers or the heritage committee?

She also claims the opposition does not support the UNESCO declaration for cultural diversity. We support UNESCO's declaration. The minister is misleading Canadians and our cultural industries.

Is the minister so out of touch with Canadians and even her own party in Quebec? How can Canadians have faith in the Minister of Canadian Heritage and the government when in desperation they mislead and deceive?

LiberiaStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Bloc

Johanne Deschamps Bloc Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to draw to the House's attention one more victory for democracy and a return to peace for the millions of citizens of Liberia.

Last week marked the second round of balloting in the first democratic election held in over 15 years in Liberia. The turnout was 74%.

This poor west African country has endured more than 14 years of civil war, which left more than 300,000 dead and forced many thousands more into exile.

Not only was this democratic election a historical event, but it was also proof that things are changing for the better in that part of the world, as evidenced by the victory of Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, the first black woman to be elected to such a position in Africa.

The Bloc Québécois salutes the women and men of Liberia for their determination to open the door to democracy, and extends its best wishes to the new president as she assumes her duties.

Prime Minister of CanadaStatements By Members

November 18th, 2005 / 11:15 a.m.

Conservative

Monte Solberg Conservative Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has sent so many different and interesting signals on whether or not he wants an early election that it is hard to keep up.

On the one hand he said, “Under no circumstances will my government attempt to precipitate our own defeat and force an early election”. With those solemn words still ringing through the hallways of this hallowed place, the Prime Minister then chose to introduce four different motions that he specifically declared were confidence motions, motions that could precipitate their own defeat.

Perhaps this was just a mistake because, as we know, the Prime Minister is deeply concerned that an election not happen around Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanza because what he would never do is politicize these holidays. As he himself said, “Christmas is for families” and as we know, Christmas, families and I suppose puppies are his number one priority.

Canadians, I am sure, are touched by the Prime Minister's concern, but what they really want and need is a fresh, clean Conservative government.

Jewish Law StudentsStatements By Members

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to inform the House that the Canadian Jewish Law Students’ Association will be holding its 19th annual conference at the Château Laurier, here, in Ottawa, from January 13 to 15, 2006.

Students will gather from across Canada to explore the Jewish principle of tikkun olam, repairing the world. Prominent members of Canada's legal community will speak to law students about how they relate their work to social justice. The CJLSA has invited all members of Parliament to participate in this important conference. I know from my participation in last year's conference that this is a terrific platform with which to reach out to young Canadians.

We should never underestimate the impression that we make on law students when we talk to them about public commitment and social justice.

I urge all my hon. colleagues to support this activity.

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Conservative

Jay Hill Conservative Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, a federal court judge has just reinstated Jean Pelletier as chairman of VIA Rail. He says that the government was unfair in the way that it fired him last year. The judge, apparently, has now turned the whole sordid mess back to the federal cabinet to try to straighten out. Apparently the government cannot even fire someone properly.

My question is for the Prime Minister. In light of this, which Liberal crony will get the biggest severance package, Jean Pelletier or David Dingwall?

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Mount Royal Québec

Liberal

Irwin Cotler LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I will not respond to the imputations by the hon. member. I will respond only to the court judgment. With respect to the court judgment, the court asked that it be reconsidered by the cabinet and that is what the cabinet will do.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Conservative

Jay Hill Conservative Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, knowing how fast the Liberals move, we can expect them to dither on that for awhile, at least until they decide which Liberal will get the biggest payoff.

It has now been 18 days since the Gomery report confirmed what Canadians already knew, which is that the Liberal Party is corrupt. However it has also been 18 days that the Prime Minister has refused to hold the Liberal Party to account over the money that it stole from taxpayers. The right number is not $1.4 million. Justice Gomery revealed that at least $40 million were still missing.

When will the Prime Minister stand up for Canadians and sue the Liberal Party for the missing millions?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Ottawa—Vanier Ontario

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger LiberalMinister for Internal Trade

Mr. Speaker, that is totally preposterous. On the day the report was issued, the Liberal Party refunded $1.14 million to the taxpayers. This was based on the evidence provided by Justice Gomery from his analysis of the millions of pages of documentation and the testimony of 172 witnesses. The Liberal Party of Canada responded immediately on the day the report was tabled.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Conservative

Jay Hill Conservative Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, I know and the Canadian public knows that $1.4 million is a drop in the bucket of what the Liberal Party stole.

Canadians are asking the Liberal government to show them the dirty money. The Prime Minister has promised to pay back what the Liberal Party of Canada stole from taxpayers but he will not say when. Canadians want their money back now and they want to see the criminal element within the Liberal Party brought to justice.

Justice Gomery revealed $40 million were still unaccounted for. It cannot be traced. When will the government ensure that the Liberal Party of Canada pays back every red cent that it took?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Ottawa—Vanier Ontario

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger LiberalMinister for Internal Trade

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal Party of Canada has done exactly that. Based on the facts that were presented by Justice Gomery in his first report on November 1, the party immediately refunded $1.14 million to Canadian taxpayers for moneys that might have been inappropriately received.

I would invite the member opposite to step outside and repeat the question he just put because he might find himself in some deep trouble.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Conservative Niagara Falls, ON

Mr. Speaker, in a democracy there is no worse crime than an attempt to steal an election, and that is exactly what Mr. Justice Gomery has concluded. Dirty money was funnelled into ridings for the sole purpose of fixing the election.

The Prime Minister and the government know the 18 ridings where this happened. Will the government finally do the right thing and name these ridings so Canadians will know in advance of this election that the fix was in for the last election?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Ottawa—Vanier Ontario

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger LiberalMinister for Internal Trade

Mr. Speaker, here is what Justice Gomery concluded:

[The Prime Minister], whose role as Finance Minister did not involve him in the supervision of spending by the PMO or PWGSC, is entitled, like other Ministers in the Quebec caucus, to be exonerated from any blame for carelessness or misconduct.

That is the conclusion of Justice Gomery.

The Conservatives have been trying to character assassinate the Prime Minister for a year and a half. This is the conclusion of Justice Gomery and they just do not want to accept it. Canadians will accept it.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Conservative Niagara Falls, ON

Mr. Speaker, just before the next election, the Prime Minister and the members of his cabinet are racing across the country in a desperate attempt to raise the money that was stolen through the ad scam mess.

Could the minister make sure that the money raised will only come from cronies, patronage appointments and Liberal hangers-on and that none of the money received will get a tax credit so Canadians will not be subsidizing the repayment of stolen money? Could he give us that assurance?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Ottawa—Vanier Ontario

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger LiberalMinister for Internal Trade

Mr. Speaker, I have said it already. On the day Justice Gomery presented his report, the Liberal Party of Canada cut a cheque for $1.14 million for moneys it has properly receipted.

However, if we are going to engage in this type of thing, how long will it be before the Leader of the Opposition reveals who contributed to his campaign?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, the dismissal of Jean Pelletier as chairman of the board of VIA Rail has been overturned by a Federal Court judge on the grounds that the dismissal based solely on Myriam Bédard's testimony was unjustified. The judgment concluded that Jean Pelletier ought to be reinstated in his position at VIA Rail.

Does the government intend to comply with this judgment and reinstate Jean Pelletier, despite the fact that he was seriously fingered in the Gomery report?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Mount Royal Québec

Liberal

Irwin Cotler LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the court has ordered that Mr. Pelletier's case be reviewed by the governor in council under a different process. That is something cabinet plans to do.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, what the court said was that the grounds for the dismissal were wrong.

In light of the commission's findings demonstrating Jean Pelletier's unequivocal involvement in the sponsorship scandal, does the government not think that there is more than enough evidence to uphold his dismissal?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Mount Royal Québec

Liberal

Irwin Cotler LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, as I said, the government is in the process of reviewing this decision. Following the court's judgment, everything was referred to cabinet. We will do as the court indicated and examine the decision.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, the person who partially controlled the political direction in the sponsorship scandal was harshly blamed by Justice Gomery for his infringements and omissions and the fact that he “arrogated to himself the direction of a virtually secret program of discretionary spending”.

Given Justice Gomery's very harsh criticism, is that not more than enough grounds to uphold Jean Pelletier's dismissal?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Mount Royal Québec

Liberal

Irwin Cotler LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the court has ruled and we will respect that ruling. The cabinet will examine the process and the ruling, as the court has recommended.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, how can the government continue to defend Jean Pelletier, who denies any responsibility in the sponsorship affair and still does not accept the blame assigned by Justice Gomery?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Mount Royal Québec

Liberal

Irwin Cotler LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I will repeat what I said. It is not a question of defending Mr. Pelletier, but of respecting the court ruling. That is what we are going to do.