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House of Commons Hansard #56 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was foreign.

Topics

ChinaStatements By Members

February 14th, 2005 / 2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Gord Brown Conservative Leeds—Grenville, ON

Mr. Speaker, an estimated 16 million to 20 million prisoners are held in over 4,000 labour reform camps in China and Tibet.

Slave labour from these camps earns China several hundred million dollars. There have been published reports that these camps offer deals to foreign companies who conduct businesses with them.

With their loagai camps China has the largest forced labour camp system in the world. The prisoners in the camps are often detained without any legal procedures. They are forced to do physically strenuous work which is often hazardous to their health and has to be done under the most difficult conditions.

We have been assured that Canadian flag pins will no longer be made in China. I hope that the ones that we have in stock were not made in these forced labour camps.

Wal-MartStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Sébastien Gagnon Bloc Jonquière—Alma, QC

Mr. Speaker, Wal-Mart management ran a message in today's newspapers, in which it claims recent events have been very trying for it and accuses the public of taking sides. But do they not say in retail that the customer is always right?

There are labour laws in Quebec that are good for everyone, and Wal-Mart must comply with them. The past century was marked by a number of major battles to gain the right to unionize, but the management of this multinational seems oblivious of that fact, with its 19th century behaviour.

Today there are plenty of dissatisfied customers. All of the members of the Bloc Québécois call upon Wal-Mart management, if it wants to spare itself any more trying times in coming weeks, to reconsider its decision to close the Jonquière store, to negotiate with its associates, and to stop its union-busting tactics.

If returning to these 19th century tactics is what it takes to provide the customer with the lowest price, then Quebec customers are not buying, thank you.

Child CareStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Carol Skelton Conservative Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister fails to remember his promise to allow parents a choice in child care. In his 2000 budget speech he said, “Let there be no doubt: assisting families is not only the smart thing to do, it is the right thing to do”.

Poll after poll shows that most parents prefer to have direct assistance which would allow them to raise their own children. These parents want the freedom to choose the child care environment that is best for their family, be it linguistic, religious, cultural or social.

The Prime Minister's government proposes absolutely nothing for these parents in the Liberal child care plan. Why will the government not provide parents with choices when it comes to child care?

When the Prime Minister and the Minister of Social Development had a choice, they raised their own children at home. Why not let the rest of Canadians have the same choice?

MarriageStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Liberal Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative Party's position on marriage and the family just gets stranger and stranger.

The media now reports that the member for Calgary Southeast believes that the current definition of marriage is not discriminatory because marriage has always been open to all. He said:

The fact is that homosexuals aren't barred from marrying under Canadian law. Marriage is open to everybody, as long as they're a man and a woman.

If this were 1920, that kind of remark would be similar to saying “politics is open to everyone as long as the person is a man,” or if it were the 1940s perhaps, it would be like saying “marriage is open to everyone as long as they are of the same ethnic background”.

It seems that the Conservative Party believes that everyone can already get married, but if the people are homosexual, they must ensure they marry someone of the opposite sex.

We would like to take this opportunity to ask the Alliance-Conservative Party to join us in the 21st century and stand up for the rights of all--

MarriageStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Lévis—Bellechasse.

Patro de LévisStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Réal Lapierre Bloc Lévis—Bellechasse, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to mention the extraordinary support provided by the people in my riding to the welfare of the community and to assure the Patro de Lévis foundation of my unqualified support for their grand relocation project.

Every year, more than 75,000 people take part in activities at the Patro de Lévis, so new facilities have become a necessity. This is why the acquisition of the monastère de la Visitation, a magnificent heritage building is such a coup. Now money is needed to bring the building up to present-day standards. A funding campaign with a target of $2.9 million will appeal to the public's generosity through a variety of fund-raising activities until November 30.

I offer my thanks and congratulations to the many people involved and the hope that the fundraising efforts of the Patro may be on a par with the great good it does for the community.

Tobacco IndustryStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, two weeks from today the World Health Organization's milestone framework convention on tobacco control comes into force. Canada ratified the convention last November and is a member of the conference of parties that will play an active role in implementing and managing the convention worldwide.

On the surface Canada appears to be ready to become a world leader in taking on the giant tobacco corporations, whose business results in the death of 45,000 Canadians and 5 million others around the globe each year.

Yet we continue to provide a lifeline to those corporations through our investment dollars. Last year we were told by the head of the CPP Investment Board that he would need an international agreement like the landmines treaty to pull out of tobacco investment.

We now have one. The World Health Organization convention and 59% of Canadians, who in a recent poll said they opposed CPP tobacco investments, are waiting for this government to act and show it cares.

So far we have seen no plans by this government to cut off investment to tobacco companies. We have just two weeks. Let's hope the government acts.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Peter MacKay Conservative Central Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, during the last election campaign the Prime Minister ridiculed the Conservative plan for greater airlift and sealift capacity. In fact the Liberals even ran television ads attacking the Conservatives for advocating the purchase of hybrid carriers.

The Prime Minister said, “We are not interested in getting aircraft carriers”. General Hillier, Canada's new chief of the defence staff, stated that he needs a large ship to enable Canada to meet the challenges from humanitarian aid to armed conflict.

Will the government now follow the advice of its top soldier and that of the Conservative Party and proceed with the purchase or procurement of large troop transport vessels?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, members of the House know full well that in the government's acquisition plan we have a joint supply ship that has been there. The Prime Minister announced that we were looking at this for several years.

The chief of the defence staff has said that we have to look at exactly the nature of the confirmation of this ship. It bears no relationship whatsoever to the extravagant and absolutely insane idea of acquiring aircraft carriers that was brought forward by the opposition during the last election campaign.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Peter MacKay Conservative Central Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, that is what the Liberals said about helicopters.

General Hillier plans to start his military reorganization immediately. He is calling for heavy lift helicopters, Hercules transport replacement aircraft, precision munitions for our CF-18 fighters. He noted that a number of parliamentary committees called for the government to reinvest in the Canadian Forces.

The Liberal Party's abysmal lack of commitment to the forces is well chronicled: cancelled helicopter contracts, used submarines, inadequate armed vehicles, the list goes on and on.

The Conservative Party, in fact most Canadians, support properly equipping our military. When will the government start to listen to the advice of its top people and stop--

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Minister of National Defence.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I want to recall for members of the House, including members of the opposition, that the Prime Minister appointed General Hillier precisely because we wanted a strong voice to tell us how we can have the right strategic vision for this country and how we can acquire the assets.

I beg hon. members to wait until we get the defence review. Watch the budget. We are turning the corner. We will be delivering, as we have indicated, the resources our forces need to play the role that they do in the world. General Hillier will be there to lead them. We are very proud of the direction we are taking.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Peter MacKay Conservative Central Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, the forces have been waiting for 12 years for the government to act.

General Hillier's planned reorganization of the Canadian Forces will require new soldiers and equipment. The promise of 5,000 troops and 3,000 reservists is critical to the plan, but he has said that before that happens, we have to fix the base. That clearly means reinvesting in training, weapons, ammunition, spare parts and infrastructure.

Will the finance minister commit that this federal budget will contain sufficient resources to allow General Hillier and our forces to obtain the personnel and equipment that they need to do the important job that we ask of them?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, nothing would give me greater pleasure than to answer in the House on behalf of the finance minister, but I think that all members who are anticipating the budget would agree that would be a very hazardous thing for anyone to do.

I can say that the finance minister is committed to rebuilding our forces along the vision that General Hillier is articulating and which we will lay out with our defence review. We will be getting the funds. We will be getting the resources. We are getting the backing of this government so that our forces can play the meaningful role they are wanted to do in the world and which they are doing in the world.

Child CareOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

Rona Ambrose Conservative Edmonton—Spruce Grove, AB

Mr. Speaker, this weekend it became clear that the Liberal vision of day care is not shared by Canadian women. Canada has the highest rate of working moms in the industrialized world. Close to 100% of these working moms have said that if they could afford it, they would stay home part time to care for their own children. The Liberals have been clear that their plan will not give women a choice.

When will the finance minister bring changes to the tax system that will give women the power to make their own child care choices? When will the government start listening to working women?

Child CareOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Ken Dryden LiberalMinister of Social Development

Mr. Speaker, as we have talked about before in the House, what a child care system provides is an option. It is an option for parents. No one is suggesting that the most important relationship is anything but the relationship between parents and their kids.

All that early learning and child care is an extra option for the great majority of parents who have decided that they would be in the workplace even as their kids are younger. The reality in this country is that the great majority of parents are in the workplace even with younger kids.

Child CareOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

Rona Ambrose Conservative Edmonton—Spruce Grove, AB

Mr. Speaker, Quebec already has its own child care program, and a federal program is only diverting funds that should be put into the hands of parents.

Will the Liberal government stop invading Quebec's areas of jurisdiction and give the province full financial compensation with no strings attached?

Child CareOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Ken Dryden LiberalMinister of Social Development

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member knows, the education system did not develop by just putting money into the hands of parents to decide for themselves to get together to create schools. That is not how it happened. A health care system did not happen in that way either.

It happened because the public decided that what mattered a lot was the development of their children and they wanted to put together a public response to it. That is what early learning and child care is, an opportunity for kids to have an enhanced early childhood development experience.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is in Atlantic Canada signing specific agreements with Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia; these agreements total $3.7 billion, thereby making the equalization program even more inequitable.

Does the government realize that, by concluding individual agreements, Ottawa is only increasing the fiscal imbalance at Quebec's expense?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Scarborough—Guildwood Ontario

Liberal

John McKay LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, in September last year the premiers and the Prime Minister entered into some historic deals: $41 billion for health care and $33 billion for equalization.

At the end of that negotiation, the Prime Minister said to every premier that was in the room at the time, “I intend to enter into a special arrangement with Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia”. At that time no premier objected to this particular arrangement and in fact encouraged the Prime Minister to do so.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier, QC

Mr. Speaker, we must not be on the same planet, if one of us thinks that the premiers of the other provinces are in agreement with this. They agree with Ottawa multiplying the sweet deals: $2.6 billion for Newfoundland and Labrador; $1.1 billion for Nova Scotia; and $600 million for Saskatchewan.

At the same time, Quebec has to repay $2.4 billion, due notably to Ottawa's miscalculations.

Instead of further perverting the equalization system, could the government not make an effort to minimize the fiscal imbalance, starting with the coming budget, as the throne speech suggests it will?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Scarborough—Guildwood Ontario

Liberal

John McKay LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I agree with the hon. member's assertion that we are not on the same planet.

There is no question that this is a complex formula. It measures 33 capacities for fiscal generation of moneys. It operates across 10 jurisdictions. It is quite complex. Over there, members do not want resource revenues recognized; and over there, they want renewable resource revenues not recognized. This is why there has been a special committee struck, in order to be able to address these very--

TaxationOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, the very generous deals signed today with Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia are piecemeal deals which completely distort the formula and objectives of equalization, presenting a picture of the provinces' fiscal capacity that is not consistent with the reality.

Will the Minister of Finance admit that he has completely totally contorting the rules of equalization and that he is making it blatantly clear that a major fiscal imbalance does exist in Canada?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Scarborough—Guildwood Ontario

Liberal

John McKay LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, as I recollect it, two months ago every party in the opposition supported entering into a special arrangement with Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia because of their difficulties and unique circumstances. Every one of them supported it. Now they all have a case of me-tooism.