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House of Commons Hansard #146 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was infrastructure.

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 Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound.

Citizen Advisory CommitteesStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Gary Carr Liberal Halton, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to inform my fellow colleagues of an innovative process that I use to communicate and work directly with my constituents. They are called citizen advisory committees.

We currently have committees on the topics of health care, citizenship and immigration, seniors, rural and agriculture. These groups meet a minimum of four times a year in small groups of 10 in order to exchange real dialogue and debate on issues.

They provide me with advice and feedback on issues and legislation which I in turn take back to the caucus and ministers. In between meetings we share ideas through e-mails, letters and phone calls. This allows an ongoing dialogue and is much more effective in dealing with complex issues.

On October 15, I held an advisory group meeting on Bill C-407, an issue that has become very emotional to many of my constituents. I had the opportunity to listen and take notes on the opinions, concerns and comments of my constituents which I will then discuss with my caucus.

I would like to thank everyone who came out to this meeting and thank all those who have taken the time to volunteer on the advisory committees. Their time, work and comments are very much appreciated.

AgricultureStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Lynne Yelich Conservative Blackstrap, SK

Mr. Speaker, the plight of Canadian farmers is becoming increasingly desperate as they face grim financial realities constantly.

Walter Klinger, a farmer from Jansen, Saskatchewan, recently wrote me a letter describing the situation in his own words:

Western Canadian farmers are experiencing the lowest commodities prices, related to the highest input costs in history. This is not only a disgrace for Canadian farmers, it is an outright demoralizing issue.

The government's response to this current crisis is only adding to the grief. To quote Mr. Klinger again:

In other grain producing countries, their respective governments ensure that there are sufficient support programs in place for their producers. Our farmers feed the public out of their own pockets.

The Liberal CAIS program is so complicated and ineffective that you need to pay your accountant upwards of $400 to $500 to file your application, only to learn that you don't qualify.

Clearly, this government's response to the agriculture crisis has failed. It is now time for a government that will implement agriculture policies that actually and really work.

Guelph Human Resource CentreStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Brenda Chamberlain Liberal Guelph, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House to recognize the Guelph Human Resource Centre of Canada for students and the very successful summer they had. This year, the Guelph Human Resource Centre posted 706 positions, a 21% increase from 2004. This means that in 2005 the centre helped more employers meet their staffing needs and helped more students find summer jobs.

Some 350 students also received help one on one from summer employment officers. These are individuals who help students with developing or improving a resumé, practising an interview, or help with drafting a cover letter in one on one employment advising sessions.

I wish to commend all those dedicated individuals who worked so hard this summer to help so many students in my community. I hope that they can build upon their success in 2006.

Summit of the AmericasStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, on November 4 and 5, the fourth Summit of the Americas will be held in Mar del Plata, Argentina.

The 34 heads of state of the Americas will meet under the theme “Creating Jobs to Fight Poverty and Strengthen Democratic Governance”.

Quebec, unfortunately, was not invited to this meeting to negotiate the creation of a free trade area of the Americas. The nation of Quebec has to depend on Ottawa's goodwill to defend its rights and priorities.

As the federal Liberal government daily denies the existence of the Quebec nation, I have a hard time imagining how it will defend the interests of Quebeckers and how it will look after Quebec's needs in a context of continental integration.

The situation once again illustrates the need for a sovereign Quebec so we can defend our culture, values and interests ourselves.

Association of Women of India in CanadaStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Liberal Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in this House today to recognize a very special organization that has made a tremendous impact on the local community in my riding of Don Valley East.

For almost 30 years, AWIC Community and Social Services has provided support to families who have just arrived in Canada. AWIC provides settlement services, employment counselling, volunteer opportunities, ESL and computer classes, as well as a number of other programs for seniors, women, children and youth.

Since its inception in 1976, AWIC has become a pillar of support for various people who need help adapting to their new surroundings. Above all, AWIC epitomizes Canada as a multicultural society that encourages its citizens to preserve and promote their cultural heritage.

Bereaved FamiliesStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Guy Lauzon Conservative Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry, ON

Mr. Speaker, this year marks the 20th anniversary of Bereaved Families of Ontario in Cornwall, in my riding of Stormont--Dundas--South Glengarry.

This organization has helped thousands of families who have lost a loved one to cope with their loss through love, hope and determination. It currently offers a bereavement centre, a resource library, special bereavement services to children and youth, telephone support services, one on one discussions, support groups and public education services.

All these services are made possible by the dedication and generosity of volunteers, each of whom is bereaved and has received formal training. I know what good work these people do because I myself benefited greatly from their services 17 years ago.

From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank and congratulate everyone who has contributed to Bereaved Families of Ontario over the past 20 years and I welcome the Cornwall representatives who are visiting us on Parliament Hill today.

CyprusStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

John Cannis Liberal Scarborough Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I, along with the Canada-Cyprus parliamentary friendship group, today had the opportunity and the pleasure of welcoming to the Hill His Excellency the Ambassador of Cyprus to the United States and High Commissioner of Cyprus to Canada, Mr. Evriviades, along with His Excellency the Consul General Mr. Vryonides, along with Mr. Sophocleous, the President of the Canadian Justice Committee for Cyprus.

Today these gentlemen talked to us about the Cyprus of yesterday, today and tomorrow. This nation has come a long way since the illegal invasion of July 1974. Most impressive was when they were asked, “What does Cyprus want today?” Their response was, “Cyprus doesn't want nothing, nothing more than what any civil society is asking today, that the rule of law be applied and justice and security for all civilized people”.

The time has come for a solution to the Cyprus issue.

Inverness Bronze Sculpture GalleryStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Marc Boulianne Bloc Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Inverness bronze sculpture gallery is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year.

Located in the Mégantic—L'Érable region, this economuseum protects and promotes a rich heritage and pays tribute to Quebec's great sculptors.

The fame of the gallery, its exhibitions and its works helps promote the cultural, tourist and economic development of both the L'Érable region and Quebec as a whole.

On October 2, the gallery celebrated its anniversary with an exhibition of the work of some forty highly talented artists, who were present at the event and included Armand Vaillancourt, Raymond Barbeau, Pascale Archambault, Huguette Joncas, Gérard Bélanger, Hélène Labrie, Roger André Bourgeault, Marcellin Fortin, Marie-Claude Demers and Jacques Lisée.

Their enthusiastic response shows just how much support there is in the artistic community for this gallery devoted to Quebec's top sculptors.

Congratulations to the gallery. May it long flourish.

Underground RailroadStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Walt Lastewka Liberal St. Catharines, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House of Commons today to offer my congratulations to Reverend Daniel Rupwate and the congregation of the British Methodist Episcopal Church-Salem Chapel on the occasion of its 150th anniversary and its role in the Underground Railroad.

Two weeks of celebrations will see the congregation and community remember one of the most famous conductors, Harriet Tubman. This extraordinary woman dedicated her life to saving the lives of others. She took tremendous risks which enabled countless people to find freedom.

In the 1850s St. Catharines and the BME Church became her headquarters for the Underground Railroad. It was a centre for religious, cultural and political activity. The Underground Railroad was the network of families and people that offered their assistance, food or shelter to slaves during their escape north.

I commend the congregation and the many volunteers who have worked so hard to help us celebrate the 150th anniversary of the BME Church. It ensures that we continue to remember the spirit and the strength of Harriet Tubman and her lifetime of courageous actions.

Boys and Girls Clubs of CanadaStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Colin Carrie Conservative Oshawa, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada and to recognize its ongoing commitment to helping children nationwide achieve their potential.

By encouraging the development of positive relationships with peers and mentors, boys and girls clubs help children build self-esteem and social skills that last a lifetime. They provide invaluable access to enriching recreational and social programs outside of school and help foster the development of positive peer relationships, emotional health and high academic performance.

As an alumni of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada, I am proud to stand in the House today to welcome our visitors and commend this great organization for the important work it does. The many hours that the volunteers, program supervisors and staff put into ensuring a fun and safe environment where children can thrive does not go unnoticed.

On behalf of the members of the House, I applaud the dedicated work of all boys and girls clubs nationwide, particularly the Eastview Boys and Girls Club in my riding of Oshawa.

ChiropracticStatements By Members

November 2nd, 2005 / 2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Ruby Dhalla Liberal Brampton—Springdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to welcome many of the chiropractors who are in Ottawa today to meet with their federal representatives. I believe these meetings will provide an ideal opportunity for many members of the House to learn about the important and integral role that chiropractic has to play in the health care arena.

As a chiropractor, I have seen first-hand the benefit of chiropractic treatment for conditions such as back pain, neck pain and headaches. With musculoskeletal conditions such as back pain, costing Canadians $16.4 billion in treatment, rehab costs and a decreasing workforce productivity, the chiropractic profession has a key role to play in addressing many of the challenges experienced in health care.

As the dynamics of health care change, it is imperative that all health care professionals work together in multidisciplinary environments to provide the highest quality of health care for all Canadians from coast to coast.

Bell CanadaStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, since 1996, the Communication, Energy and Paperworkers Union has attempted to get Bell Canada to live up to its obligations to equal pay for work of equal value.

This case has been at the Human Rights Tribunal for almost 10 years and the hearing dates scheduled until 2009. Bell Canada has spent more than $35 million on a small army of lawyers to deny thousands of women working as telephone operators money they are entitled to by law.

Bell's consistent attack on women's human rights proves yet again the need for proactive federal pay equity legislation. The labour, justice and status of women ministers are all on record referring to pay equity as a fundamental human right, yet there is still no legislation to protect workers.

The NDP is calling on the Liberal government to stop forcing women to fight for decades for economic equality and introduce proactive pay equity legislation immediately.

The Standing Committee on the Status of Women has asked for legislation. Where is the legislation?

Japanese-Canadian VeteransStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Bev Oda Conservative Clarington—Scugog—Uxbridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, next week we will be in our ridings to observe Remembrance Day. Today I want to recognize the Japanese-Canadian veterans who served in the Canadian forces in World War I and II, as well as in the Korean war.

With the onset of the first world war, not recognized as Canadian citizens, they had to fight to even be able to volunteer for service in 1915. And again in the second world war, even while all west coast Japanese were being evacuated as enemy aliens, when they were still not recognized as citizens, they volunteered to serve in our armed forces once again.

In these wars and the Korean war, they served with distinction, dignity and valour. These men and women and all Japanese in Canada finally received the right to vote and were recognized as Canadian citizens in 1948.

The Japanese-Canadian veterans fought to be able to say proudly, “I am a part of my country. I have suffered in her struggles and gloried in her victories. I was ready when I was needed. I am Canadian”.

Sponsorship ProgramStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Odina Desrochers Bloc Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Gomery report has confirmed the magnitude of the sponsorship scandal and the political leadership that presided over this vast exercise in propaganda.

The most influential members of the Liberal Party of Canada spared no expense in trying to try to buy the conscience and affection of Quebeckers, while lining the pockets of their friends who returned the favour by doing likewise for the Liberal Party.

The sponsorship scandal is a Liberal scandal skilfully orchestrated by the mandarins of the Liberal Party of Canada. Justice Gomery made note of “the existence of a 'culture of entitlement' among political officials and bureaucrats involved with the Sponsorship Program, including the receipt of monetary and non-monetary benefits”.

The Gomery report reveals this conspiracy by the Liberal Party of Canada, which, having nothing to offer Quebec, decided to use public funds to try to buy Quebeckers. How pathetic.

Sponsorship ProgramStatements By Members

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

James Bezan Conservative Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, today is a very sad day for Parliament. We now know from Justice Gomery that the Liberal government is guilty of funneling millions of public dollars into the Liberal Party.

Gomery has said that the Liberal Party, as an institution, cannot evade responsibility for the sponsorship scandal and what he calls a “depressing story of greed, venality and misconduct”.

Justice Gomery confirmed the existence of a culture of entitlement in the Liberal Party. The Liberal cabinet with the current Prime Minister, as finance minister, conceived and designed the sponsorship program. The Liberals ran the program. The Liberal Party benefited from the program and Liberals used the stolen public funds for partisan activities.

We know that $45 million is still unaccounted for. We know that at least $5.4 million has ended up in the hands of Liberals. This allowed the Liberal Party to buy elections, buy people and buy power.

The government and those responsible must be held to account. Why has no one gone to jail? It is indeed sad that the Liberal Party is still in government and it is even sadder that the NDP continues propping up that corrupt government.

Boys and Girls Clubs of CanadaStatements By Members

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Zed Liberal Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize the Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada and its vital role that this national organization plays in the lives of our children throughout Canada.

I am proud to say that the Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada has its roots in my riding of Saint John, New Brunswick, in 1900. Today, 101 Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada are located across the country.

The clubs are leading providers of programs that support the healthy physical, educational and social development for 154,000 young people and their families each year. Boys and girls clubs have over 100 years of experience in providing affordable places where children and youth can build confidence and skills for life.

Please join me in acknowledging the contributions of thousands of volunteers and staff from Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada across our country.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, now that the Gomery report has confirmed the corruption in the Liberal Party, Canadians wonder why responsibility has not been assigned. Justice Gomery wrote in black and white that the Liberal Party as an institution cannot escape responsibility for the misconduct of its officers and representatives.

The Prime Minister says that he accepts without hesitation all the commission's findings. Why, then, does the government not launch legal proceedings against the Liberal Party of Canada? Why the hesitation?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the leader of the opposition is quite mistaken. Those who acted improperly are accountable. For example, criminal charges have been laid, civil proceedings have been launched, and dismissals have taken place. As I said yesterday, the report was given to the RCMP, which will decide what additional measures need to be taken.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister did not answer the question. As Gomery noted, not only were public funds wasted and misappropriated, but no one has been held responsible or punished.

The Liberal Party of Canada executed this scandal. It was executed by some of its highest officials for the benefit of the party. Why is the government not suing the Liberal Party to recover the millions that are lost and stolen?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, anyone who has read the report would reject the premise of the hon. member's question. If he wants to deal with the issues as they are properly put, then the fact is people have been charged in criminal proceedings on the one hand. People have been sued in civil actions. People have been fired. Yesterday I referred the report to the RCMP for its consideration.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, if the Prime Minister rejects the premise of the question, then he rejects the conclusions of Judge Gomery. Gomery has said that the Liberal Party can be held responsible as an institution.

The Prime Minister likes to make a big deal out of suing this individual and that individual, but the lynchpin of this scandal is the Liberal Party of Canada, and $45 million is still lost or stolen.

Why will the Prime Minister not stand and commit that his government will sue the party that is responsible?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we fully accept the conclusions that were drawn by Mr. Justice Gomery. We fully accept his findings. What he has said is the institution is responsible for certain individuals. Those individuals, a number of them have been banned from party membership, and charges are pending in a number of cases.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Conservative

Peter MacKay Conservative Central Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Public Works said that no dirty money from the sponsorship scandal went into the bank accounts of the federal Liberal Party, not true, of course. Justice Gomery's report found the opposite. Some calculations show that the Liberal Party stole $5.4 million from Canadians, and $45 million is still unaccounted for.

Gomery said that Canadians were rightly outraged. We have known about the sponsorship scandal now for over three years. The Liberal Party set up, operated and benefited from the ad scam, yet not a single Liberal has gone to jail.

When will the Liberal ad scam criminals be held accountable and go to jail?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal Party has paid to the Crown $1.14 million. This reflects the analysis of the facts in Justice Gomery's report. The figure that the hon. member reflects is the Bloc's vacuous partisanship. We are basing our analysis on the facts of Justice Gomery's report because we support Justice Gomery and we support his report.