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House of Commons Hansard #156 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was history.

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 Don Valley East.

Aboriginal AffairsStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Nancy Karetak-Lindell Liberal Nunavut, NU

Mr. Speaker, a historic meeting will take place in Kelowna between the Prime Minister and aboriginal leaders at the first ministers meeting.

The dedication shown by this government in addressing the many issues facing aboriginal peoples of Canada has been steadfast.

This government is committed to closing the gap in living standards between aboriginals and other Canadians, not because it is the interest of the week or to score cheap political points but because we want real partnerships and community solutions, and chances for the first peoples of Canada to establish their rightful place in this country as contributors to society and because it is the right thing to do.

Jose Kusugak, President of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, always notes that Inuit are first Canadians but Canadians first, and they want to do their part for a healthy united Canada.

I know a great deal of hard work and collaborative efforts by all partners have gone into preparing for this meeting and I look forward to the concrete results. I wish the Prime Minister great success.

VeteransStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Werner Schmidt Conservative Kelowna, BC

Mr. Speaker, in the final days of the Year of the Veteran, Canadian veterans are being punished by the government.

Under the Canadian Forces Superannuation Act, veterans who marry after 60 cannot leave their survivors a portion of their pension, but veterans married before 60 can. These veterans have contributed equally to that pension plan, yet they are not entitled to the same benefits.

The government tells them to put aside money, overlooking the fact that veterans are senior citizens living on fixed incomes. Is this the dignity the government says they deserve?

Decorated veterans like Pete Buell of Halifax, Helen Rapp of Ottawa or Gordon Read of Kelowna want change. Veterans associations across Canada want change. On this side of the House, we also agree.

Give the veterans fair and equal treatment. Amend the Canadian Forces Superannuation Act. Our veterans stood up for Canada. Is it not time the Ministers of National Defence and Veterans Affairs stood up for them?

PakistanStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Gurbax Malhi Liberal Bramalea—Gore—Malton, ON

Mr. Speaker, I remain concerned about religious discrimination against minorities in Pakistan. In the face of persecution in Pakistan, Ahmadis and Christians advocate universal human rights, tolerance and deliberation. Much more work still needs to be done to ensure the rights and protection of women and minorities in Pakistan.

I call upon the Minister of Foreign Affairs to engage in a dialogue with his counterparts in Pakistan, encouraging them to review current laws that discriminate against religious minorities and to intervene on behalf of Ahmadis, Christians and other minorities by calling for the repeal of the anti-blasphemy provisions under the authority of international law. Until international law speaks to the issue, the persecution of minorities will continue.

The right to freedom of religion or belief is a fundamental human right that must be protected in Pakistan and around the world.

Violence Against Aboriginal WomenStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Cleary Bloc Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Mr. Speaker, in a recent report, Amnesty International calls Ottawa's handling of this issue a "shameful" lack of concern for missing and murdered aboriginal women.

Action is urgently needed, especially since the whereabouts of some 500 of these women remain unknown.

The Prime Minister should raise this important issue at his upcoming meeting with aboriginal leaders.

Also, the Minister of Canadian Heritage should give aboriginal women the $10 million requested for their campaign to raise awareness of the tragedy they are experiencing.

The Bloc Québécois denounces violence against aboriginal women and blames the silence of the federal government.

Canadian Islamic CongressStatements By Members

November 23rd, 2005 / 2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Eleni Bakopanos Liberal Ahuntsic, QC

Mr. Speaker, last week the Canadian Islamic Congress hosted its seventh annual gala dinner on Parliament Hill. The theme of this year's gala event was “Honouring Canadian Muslims' Contributions to the World of Business”. During the dinner, a series of awards were given to a number of deserving individuals.

It is my pleasure to note that among those honoured was Youssef Hariri, a law student and member of the executive committee of the Lebanese Islamic Centre located in my riding of Ahuntsic. He received the CIC 2005 Youth Community Award, which honours young Canadians under 30 years old who have given outstanding service to the Muslim community in Canada.

Congratulations, Mr. Hariri.

Member for Saskatoon--Rosetown--BiggarStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Carol Skelton Conservative Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, today I speak from a personal perspective. I would like, first of all, to thank Noel and the rest of my family, as well as my dedicated staff in Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar and Ottawa. They have allowed me to fairly and fully represent my constituents.

A minority Parliament has required me to be in Ottawa more than in the past. Being in attendance for every vote meant that I had to miss events I have attended in the past, but the understanding of my constituents has made this possible.

I also wish to thank the thousands who took the time to return my surveys. I enjoyed reading every one of them. It has truly been an honour to serve the thousands of Canadians that call our special part of Saskatchewan home. This overwhelming support and encouragement from my constituents makes me look forward to another term as their member of Parliament.

I look forward to seeing as many people as possible during the election and I encourage all Canadians to get out and vote. They can make a difference.

Order of CanadaStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Walt Lastewka Liberal St. Catharines, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to rise on this occasion to offer my sincere congratulations to Mr. Paul Bosc Sr. of Château des Charmes wineries on his investiture as a Member of the Order of Canada.

Paul immigrated to Canada from his native Algeria about 40 years ago and settled in Montreal. Not long afterward, he relocated to Niagara to work for the former Chateau-Gai winery. Paul was its chief winemaker and director of research for 15 years. In 1978 he established his own winery, creating Château des Charmes. The winery now has more than 250 acres of vineyards and was one of the first wineries to cultivate European grapes.

Paul Bosc Sr. has played an important role in cultivating the wine industry in the Niagara region. He helped establish Brock University's Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute and Ontario's Vintners Quality Alliance or VQA.

As one of the pioneers of the Niagara wine industry, he is a most worthy recipient of the Order of Canada. Congratulations Paul Bosc Sr.

Notre-Dame-de-la-Présentation ChurchStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Marcel Gagnon Bloc Saint-Maurice—Champlain, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Notre-Dame-de-la-Présentation church in Shawinigan south is the home of famed painter Ozias Leduc's last major pieces of work and, as such, has been designated a historic site.

I want to acknowledge the hard work of the committee for the protection of the works of Ozias Leduc in securing this designation.

To mark the 50th anniversary of the death of the renowned artist, the committee wanted to display the exquisite decor inside this church. Regarded as his artistic legacy, these works blend spirituality and the history of the development of the Mauricie region.

I invite my colleagues to come and visit this historic site in Shawinigan, located a stone's throw from the Cité de l'énergie scientific theme park. One can enjoy a beautiful view of the Saint-Maurice River while strolling through the gardens surrounding the church. This is one more reason to visit the Mauricie region, a destination no one should miss.

VolunteerismStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Colleen Beaumier Liberal Brampton West, ON

Mr. Speaker, many immigrant volunteers in Canada rarely get the praise due to them. Because they are not yet part of the mainstream, their work goes unreported.

Today I would like to pay tribute to a group of Punjabi seniors who meet in Brampton every week to discuss issues which are of concern to them as a group and to the community at large. Most of them are retired and have small or no pensions, yet these fine men are truly lions. Most recently they financed 35 tents to be sent to the earthquake victims in Pakistan. There was no fanfare. They merely acted upon the teachings of their gurus.

We should be taking lessons from our immigrant communities. Age should be treated with respect. We warehouse our seniors, some in deplorable conditions. We ignore their opinions, dismissing them as out of fashion and we eliminate their visibility when they become an inconvenience.

I would like to name the group members, but there is no time. I am proud to call these Singhs my friends and will continue to seek their guidance in many fronts.

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Merv Tweed Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Auditor General released a report that stated that the Liberal government was underfunding the RCMP. In Manitoba alone the government has cut 25 officers from the highway patrol unit.

Last Friday a local business woman from my constituency of Brandon--Souris had to call three RCMP detachments and wait five hours before an officer showed up, following a robbery at her rural grocery store. She stated that she felt very frustrated as they helplessly were forced to watch thieves take off with their goods.

In light of the Auditor General's report, the increasing street crime in Canada's cities and the lack of police manpower in rural communities, I call on the government to admit its Liberal soft on crime approach has failed Canadians and to state that a new Conservative government will end the useless long gun registry and give more support to our front line officers.

Team Saint JohnStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Zed Liberal Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, I rise this afternoon to recognize some visitors from my home town of Saint John, New Brunswick.

It has been my pleasure to host the five mayors from Greater Saint John. Mayor Norm McFarlane, Rothesay Mayor Bill Bishop, Ron Maloney of Quispamsis, Grace Losier of Grand Bay-Westfield and Jim Huttges of St. Martins are all part of Team Saint John.

Last year we had an extremely successful trip, and this year we have expanded our team to include the mayors and community leaders like Steve Carson and Dale Knox from Enterprise Saint John, Bob Manning from the Saint John Board of Trade and Tom Gribbons from Vibrant Communities.

We have been meeting with ministers of the cabinet, the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister and the finance, ACOA and immigration ministers. We have discussed the issues of concern to Greater Saint John, such as harbour cleanup, immigration and affordable housing.

Welcome back Team Saint John.

Pay EquityStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, recently I was asked by a student who was writing a paper on federal pay equity why the government was taking so long to draft proactive legislation. The Ministers of Labour and Justice appeared at the status of women committee this week to answer that question and their response was not reassuring.

Although the ministers referred to pay equity as a fundamental human right, they said nothing to indicate that we would see draft legislation any time soon.

The pay equity task force studied and consulted for more than three years. It produced a comprehensive report that called for proactive legislation and the establishment of an independent pay equity commission. That report was completed in May 2004 and still nothing from either department.

Women have read the report, have studied the recommendations and know there is no reason for this delay. The departments of justice and labour could immediately draft legislation based on the report's recommendations and move forward.

Canadian women want legislation, no more studies, no more consulting and no more Liberal excuses. Where is the legislation?

Operation RudolphStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Stockwell Day Conservative Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to stand today to thank and congratulate the Canadian Coalition for Democracy for launching Operation Rudolph. Operation Rudolph is a grassroots initiative that will result in the delivery of gifts to each of 1,000 soldiers currently fighting on our behalf and for the people of Afghanistan. Included in these packages will also be personal “thank you” notes from supportive Canadians, many of whom are school children with a passion for our country.

Earlier today MPs and Senators of the Conservative Party of Canada proudly gave $2,500 toward Operation Rudolph's stated goal of $25,000. Anyone willing to do this also can contribute by visiting www.canadiancoalition.com for more information on Operation Rudolph.

From all sides of the House, we want to personally thank our troops worldwide for courageously standing up for Canadian values, the universal values of freedom, individual rights and democracy. Our gratitude and prayers go out to them and their families through this Christmas and holiday season.

André CherrierStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, at the 18th international festival of the Order of the Canardiers, held on October 22, in Rouen, Normandy, André Cherrier from Prévost was awarded the title of master duck breeder.

This honour is all the more prestigious since the owner of Canards, Délices et Pommes is only the third person in the world to receive this title.

In addition to adeptly managing his business, Mr. Cherrier invented a beautiful and modern duck press, which was used during this renowned festival's reception.

Today, it is my pleasure to welcome André Cherrier and his wife, Diane Couët, to Parliament Hill and tell them how proud I am of their success.

The Bloc Québécois salutes your company's contribution to the Laurentian region, applauds your success and congratulates you on this well-earned international honour. Three cheers for you.

Sponsorship ProgramStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Nepean—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, actions speak louder than words and Allan Cutler's actions to defend taxpayers from Liberal corruption and Liberal theft speak louder than the Prime Minister's loudest rhetoric.

Cutler has always been on the side of the folks who work hard, play by the rules and pay their taxes, and he has proven it. He refused to sign the dirty Liberal contracts and blew the whistle on the Liberal ad scam. Since then the former public servant has become Canada's renowned authority on accountability and ethics. He has never been political, never run for office, never even planned on it, but the Conservative Party's accountability act changed all that.

In it, Mr. Cutler saw hope for a clean, merit-driven public service and an accountable government. Today he announced plans to be part of that accountable Conservative government as the next member of Parliament for Ottawa South.

On behalf of the thousands of public servants in my riding, I thank Mr. Cutler for standing up for Canada once again.

Charles V. KeatingStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Michael John Savage Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, early Tuesday morning Charles V. Keating passed away in Dartmouth. Mr. Keating was a Nova Scotia legend and exceptional businessman, a philanthropist, a community builder and a humanitarian.

He was a man unabashedly proud of his family, his community and his country. The many awards he has received, including the Order of Canada and the Order of Nova Scotia are well deserved in recognition of his exemplary community service.

Few Nova Scotians have a longer list of accomplishments, but to many people the legacy of Charles Keating will be his simply values of faith, family and community. Where I live so many people have a story of his generosity and that generosity was always directed to those most in need and usually done quietly so as to avoid any embarrassment to those being helped.

Few people were prouder Canadians and most of us have heard his rousing rendition of O Canada. He also was proud of his Irish heritage. Another famous North American of Irish heritage once said, “Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country”. What Charles Keating did for his country and his community is incredible.

Like so many thousands of Nova Scotians, I will miss Charles Keating but I know his work will continue through Marilyn, through Anne Marie, through Greg, Kathy and Mike, Susan and John and his treasured grandchildren.

Air-IndiaOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, today the government announced it will not go with the full public inquiry on the Air-India bombing. This is seven months after Parliament approved an opposition motion calling for a public inquiry to take place.

If the government had followed the wishes of Parliament and the wishes of the families rather than wasting time and money on this report, it would have had the facts out in the public by now.

When the government waits until the eve of an election to make such a wishy-washy announcement, why should anyone take it seriously?

Air-IndiaOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Edmonton Centre Alberta

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I find particularly offensive the implicit character assassination of the Hon. Bob Rae, former premier of the province of Ontario.

Let me be absolutely clear. We asked the Hon. Bob Rae, an independent fact-finder, to determine whether there were questions that remained to be answered. He took up that challenge. He worked with the families. He has established relationships with the families. He did his work in good faith. He has identified those questions, and I have indicated that I will accept his recommendations.

Government ContractsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, a new government will get on with the real inquiry.

Today we learned that Liberal pollster Michael Marzolini did not have to wait for an election. His firm, Pollara, received a $90,000 verbal contract from the Department of National Defence. This was after the Auditor General denounced the government for awarding verbal contracts.

In light of this and the revelations on David Herle, will the Prime Minister come clean and care to tell us about any other Liberals who received inappropriate contracts?

Government ContractsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, this is what the Auditor General said about public opinion research for the government:

Overall, public opinion research was managed transparently, with roles and responsibilities clearly defined.

We have taken steps to strengthen public opinion research. We continue to do so, as does the private sector. We will continue to engage Canadians, seek their input and build public policies that reflect their values.

Government PoliciesOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, fortunately we soon will not have to listen to answers like that for a long, long time.

It appears that Liberal penance is expensive. Since the Gomery report, the Prime Minister has been making spending promises at the rate of $1 billion a day, and that does not even include the recent mini-budget.

Since most of these announcements are not funded in any of the three budgets the Liberals tabled this year, why should anyone believe these promises?

Government PoliciesOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Edmonton Centre Alberta

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, we are in the business of governing. We are in the business of fulfilling commitments that were made in either the Speech from the Throne or our budgets.

I would love to know from the opposition members which of these things they would not do: compensation for residential school victims, forestry sector aid, support for affordable housing or better services for immigrants. Let us hear from those people which of those would they not fund. Which of those do they not support to improve the quality of life in the country for all Canadians?

Government PoliciesOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

Peter MacKay Conservative Central Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, the real question is, which of these things will the Liberals actually do? They have had 12 years to do it.

Billions of dollars were announced today in spending with no accountability mechanisms built in. Justice Gomery said that the poorly planned sponsorship program was:

-- a depressing story of multiple failures to plan a government program appropriately and to control waste—a story of greed, venality and misconduct...

This vote-buying spree with no clear plans will only perpetuate that type of waste. Has the Prime Minister learned nothing from ad scam? Why would any Canadian believe he actually intends to do these things?

Government PoliciesOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, this is what Justice Gomery said in his report:

The persons responsible for these irregularities have been identified and reproached for their errors and misconduct. The procedure for uncovering wrongdoing is ponderous and expensive, but in the long run it works fairly well.

Canadians should not forget that the vast majority of our public officials and politicians do their work honestly, diligently and effectively, and emerged from this inquiry free of blame. Justice Gomery did not tarnish the reputations of everybody who works hard on behalf of Canadians, like that hon. member is doing.