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House of Commons Hansard #48 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was saskatchewan.

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.

Tsunami ReliefStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

John Cannis Liberal Scarborough Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is with great pride and pleasure that I stand today to commend all Canadians and our government for their generous contributions, individually and collectively, to the relief effort for all those people affected by the tsunami disaster. I am truly impressed by Canadians, young and old, from all sectors who have reached out to help through donations and fundraisers among other efforts. This shows once again what Canadians are all about.

The job ahead will take years. Our government is committed of course to work diligently and responsibly, also in coordination with our international partners, toward the comprehensive recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction assistance programs. Therefore, it is important that these generous contributions from everyone be distributed to all tsunami-affected areas suitably and effectively, with fairness and transparency.

Once again let me recognize all Canadians for their extraordinary compassion, generosity and efforts toward these most difficult times. Bravo and congratulations.

AgricultureStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Dale Johnston Conservative Wetaskiwin, AB

Mr. Speaker, farmers and livestock producers and all those whose livelihoods rely on agriculture are anxiously counting the days until March 7 when they hope the U.S. border will open to cattle under 30 months of age from Canada.

After three years of drought and a beef ban that lasted almost two years, reopening the border is only a small step in solving this economic crisis. We might have been able to weather the BSE cases better if we had not been quite so dependent on the U.S. to buy and process our beef.

It is time to be proactive, to rebuild our markets and secure new markets for new products. The best way to accomplish this is to increase our slaughter capacity. We need more processing plants and we need them now.

The federal government has a role to play. There are groups with site plans and marketing plans for new slaughterhouses, but they cannot get the government's attention or help. People are losing their farms, homes and businesses. We need a new deal for rural Canada, and the upcoming budget is a good place to start.

Fraud Awareness MonthStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Liberal Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, in Toronto yesterday the Minister of Industry joined members of the Fraud Prevention Forum, chaired by the Competition Bureau, to launch its Fraud Awareness Month.

Millions of Canadians will be better educated on how to protect themselves from fraud thanks to this month-long campaign. More than 40 public and private sector organizations will be reaching out to Canadians in an effort to educate Canadians on how to recognize, report and stop fraud. These organizations have committed to airing public service announcements on radio and television, distributing 30 million bill inserts and posters, buying newspaper ads and posting web banners, all in the name of fraud education and prevention.

As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Fraud Awareness Month, with its unprecedented cooperation by the public and private sector, will help stop crimes before they start.

Port-Alfred PlantStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Bouchard Bloc Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

Mr. Speaker, on January 26, Abitibi-Consol announced that it was closing its Port-Alfred plant in La Baie for good.

There was no advance notice of this announcement of the definitive loss of 640 jobs. The workers were confronted with a done deal. The company did not even offer a glimmer of hope for any recovery. Its actions showed nothing but disdain for its employees.

The federal government's lack of interest is also apparent, made conspicuous by its absence, when this is disastrous news for the entire population of Saguenay and Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean. If a plant closure in a distant region is not of concern to the government, why does it talk about regional development?

It is all very well for the Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada to send a sympathetic message to the plant workers, but Saguenay needs money more than it needs kind thoughts.

Potato FarmingStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Andy Savoy Liberal Tobique—Mactaquac, NB

Mr. Speaker, in my riding of Tobique—Mactaquac, the potato is king. Its growth, processing and shipping are essential economic activities in the upper Saint John River valley.

In honour of this vital crop and all those who devote their efforts to it, the New Brunswick Potato Museum has just announced its first inductees into the Potato World Hall of Fame.

One of those honoured is a man who has specialized in this crop for many years. Yvon Ouellette of Drummond, New Brunswick, is one of the province's most successful potato growers.

People like Yvon Ouellette, who give their heart and soul to what they do, are the ones responsible for the dynamism of this agricultural sector. Their devotion and business acumen have made the potato industry the driving force of our region's economy.

My sincere congratulations to Yvon Ouellette on his induction to the Potato Hall of Fame.

Tsunami ReliefStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Randy Kamp Conservative Dewdney—Alouette, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize the hundreds of people in my riding who have given of their time and resources to raise relief funds for the victims of the tsunami disaster on December 26.

Young children have held penny drives and donated money from their paper routes. Youth groups have taken up collections. A group of Sri Lankan immigrants have stepped forward to lead local efforts.

In Pitt Meadows, Dotti Preena has organized a Sri Lankan fundraising dinner and silent auction.

In Maple Ridge, Surekha and Nelie Meedin teamed up with the owners of the Haney Bottle Depot to hold a successful bottle drive.

In Mission, Ken Selvaraja of the Cedar Valley Lions Club organized a Sunday brunch at Stella's Restaurant to raise funds for a Sri Lankan orphanage.

These are just a few of the countless examples of those who have done so much to help so many in their time of great need.

I ask all members of the House to join with me in thanking all those who have given and all those who continue to give.

Textile and Clothing IndustryStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Don Boudria Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is with sadness that I learned yesterday that Gildan Activewear will close its two Canadian yarn spinning operations.

One of the plants, scheduled to close in March, is located in Long Sault, Ontario, and employs 170 people. This area, which used to have one of the most concentrated clusters of textile companies in Canada, lost close to 2,000 jobs over the last 20 years.

I urge the Government of Canada to put measures in place for those workers in order to receive employment insurance benefits in a timely manner. I also call upon the government to improve the program for the textile industry to ensure that no more jobs are lost in this important industry.

UbisoftStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Bloc Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, Ubisoft, a company with the world's second largest team of video game creators, has just confirmed that it will invest $700 million over the next five years to expand its operations in Montreal, thus creating 1,000 new jobs.

We salute Ubisoft's dynamism and recognize that financial support from the governments in Ottawa and Quebec City had something to do with this decision.

This example of Quebec-Ottawa cooperation gives legitimacy our questioning of the federal government's silence regarding any assistance it might provide to Bombardier in its ambitious proposal for a new family of aircraft. On December 15, the Government of Quebec presented Bombardier with a contingency plan in order to encourage the aircraft maker to develop its new aircraft at Mirabel. Ottawa has been as silent as the tomb so far.

The Prime Minister should take his inspiration from the federal participation in the Ubisoft file and take a clear position in favour of Quebec for Bombardier. Let us remind him that—

UbisoftStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Brome—Missisquoi.

The EnvironmentStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Paradis Liberal Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Mr. Speaker, my riding, Brome—Missisquoi, now has an immense conservation area in the Sutton Mountains, which will soon cover nearly 20,000 acres.

My colleague, the hon. Minister of the Environment, has announced a contribution of $1.1 million to help Nature Conservancy Canada consolidate its acquisitions in the Sutton Mountains.

In Brome—Missisquoi, the environment is a priority. The people there live in harmony with nature. They have supported me in this project because they believe it is urgent to preserve this unique heritage. The First Nations call the trees “standing people”. The people of Brome—Missisquoi and everyone involved in this project have stood tall to protect priceless natural resources.

In some cultures, a tree is planted when a child is born so that the child will have a friend for life. In Brome—Missisquoi we have given our children a forest for life. What a fine inheritance.

AgricultureStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Bev Oda Conservative Clarington—Scugog—Uxbridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, in January I was pleased to attend a meeting of the Region 4 Chapter of the Ontario Corn Producers Association in Durham. The annual meeting was followed by a grassroots meeting to discuss the real challenges faced by my farmers day after day as they move into another season.

Thanks to Joe Hickson and Dale Mountjoy, over 300 farmers attended this session, representing the cattle, dairy, feather farms, suppliers and banking institutions, all an indication of the significance of their challenges.

What is clear to me is the government's support programs are not working. Simply working to open the border is not enough.

This industry can no longer afford a reactionary issue by issue agriculture strategy that the government has given it for the past decade. What the farmers in my riding and what farmers across the country need are programs that work for them, a domestic agricultural and agrifood policy.

The HolocaustStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Susan Kadis Liberal Thornhill, ON

Mr. Speaker, last week I accompanied Her Excellency the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, Governor General of Canada, to the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camps.

Although I have had years of education in relation to the Holocaust, nothing could compare with standing there at Auschwitz-Birkenau, where over 1.5 million people were systematically killed, the majority of them Jewish. We must continue to speak out about the Holocaust and use it as a powerful tool to prevent other atrocities.

Although we can never right the wrong that befell the courageous victims and survivors, we can and we must as Eli Weisel stated “be their custodians”. It is not enough to simply say never again. We have a collective responsibility to take decisive action now.

As the elected representative of Thornhill, I am committed to working with my colleagues at all levels to ensure that there are specific educational programs to combat anti-Semitism and racism in every form. There is no better way to secure our future than to ensure our children live free of hate and racism.

ImmigrationStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

David Christopherson NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, when a young Moroccan woman named Saadia El Ouardi was ordered by her father to marry a man more than twice her age, and who already had two wives, she refused. He then threatened to kill her to regain his so-called honour, and she fled to Canada to save her life.

But, last weekend she was deported to Morocco, despite her father's continuing threats, despite the fact that her son Timmy is a Canadian citizen and despite the appeals of the community in Hamilton where she made her home.

While citizenship and immigration does not recognize threatened honour killings in Morocco, the international organization Global Rights and the United Nations have documented such killings, and the inability of Morocco's justice system to protect women there.

Our first priority is to return Saadia and Timmy to their family in Canada. But, the bigger issue here is that Canada must work harder to protect women everywhere from the tragedy of honour killings.

JusticeStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

James Moore Conservative Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, there are fewer tragedies greater in life than the loss of a child. This tragedy can be compounded when the death of a child is the result of the irresponsibility of someone else in our society to choose to drink and drive.

Last year Michael John Reid was killed by a drunk driver in my constituency. It was a terrible loss to my community, to his friends and, most important, to his family.

I rise today to demand tougher laws, tougher sentencing and better enforcement of our drunk driving laws.

The devastation to families of unnecessary tragedies by drunk driving is profound, and must never be forgotten. All too often, drunk drivers are back on the streets within days of their offence. For many, drunk driving is a casual choice, devoid of thought.

However, to victims like Michael Reid, and the devastation his loss has caused his mother Lisa Reid and his family, these tragedies must never become statistics.

The best way to honour the life of John Michael Reid is to learn, fix our broken laws and ensure that tragedies such as this are never repeated. I ask the Prime Minister to do this.

Junior National Figure Skating ChampionshipsStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Marc Lemay Bloc Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Skate Canada Junior National Championships will be held February 2 to 5 at the PEPS complex at Laval University in Quebec City.

These championships are an opportunity to see our talented young skaters in the following categories: juvenile, pre-novice, novice, men, women and pairs. Today's skaters will be tomorrow's Olympic medalists. They deserve our wholehearted encouragement for their efforts.

This type of competition allows them to see how they rank against each other, but above all to acquire the experience they need to succeed.

The Bloc Québécois wishes the best of luck to all the skaters and hopes that this competition gives them a taste of success and achievement.

EqualizationStatements By Members

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

Lynne Yelich Conservative Blackstrap, SK

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance, following equalization talks, suggested that Saskatchewan is not nearly as hard done by as it makes out. However, the Vanier Institute of the Family has released figures showing household incomes are stagnant, debts are rising and the savings rate for Canadian families has dropped to zero.

The residents of the finance minister's home province of Saskatchewan are even worse off. They have had a negative savings rate in each of the last four years. That is a far cry from the situation 20 years ago when the typical household was saving about 20% of its disposable after tax income.

Families are crumbling under the financial pressure. As their bank accounts dwindle, so does their sense of security for the future.

The Liberal government's tax and spend policies and the gross waste and mismanagement of the last decade have contributed to the cash shortage, and it is particularly hard on low and middle income families who are paying the price.

It is time to put money back into the hands of the hard-working Canadians who earned it.

Charles Carman CoreStatements By Members

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Navdeep Bains Liberal Mississauga—Brampton South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to pay my respects to Charles Carman Core who died last week at the age of 96.

Charles Carman Core was Brampton's 33rd mayor, holding the position from 1959 to 1962. Previously to being mayor, Mr. Core had served on Brampton's town council for 30 years. He was also the youngest member of the council at the age of 28, and over the years he filled many other positions, such as the warden of Peel County.

Although Mr. Core moved to South Carolina in 1966 to be closer to his daughter, his memory will always be remembered in Brampton.

I personally never had the opportunity to meet him, but I have only heard good things about him.

Mr. Core and his memory will never be forgotten and his legacy will live through his three children, 13 grandchildren and 30 great grandchildren.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I would like to return to the Prime Minister's failures on his recent visit to China.

First, he apparently found a functioning opposition in the Communist system. Then, in his lust for photo ops, he signed an open-ended declaration with the Communist government with wording that implied non-comment on issues like Taiwan, Tibet and human rights violations.

How could the Prime Minister possibly sign on to language like that in such a declaration?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I am not quite sure what literacy skills the hon. member happens to have, but allow me to read this. We exchanged views--

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. We have to have some order to hear the answer.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Martin Liberal LaSalle—Émard, QC

--respecting and protecting these rights. Both sides expressed support for the broadening and expansion of dialogues and exchange in the field of human rights. That is out of the document that the member obviously has not read.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister knows specifically what words I am referring to. I am sure he does because his own caucus expert on this, the former minister for Asia-Pacific, has written the following about the wording the Prime Minister signed onto. He said:

...beneath this antiseptic veneer...means Taiwan and Tibet are not Canada's business, and it doesn't matter if political freedoms, fundamental human rights or basic norms of international law are impinged.

Could the Prime Minister explain his absolute incompetence and negligence in signing on to that kind of communist wording?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, for a document that does not talk about Taiwan, let me simply say that the document says that Canada is opposed to any unilateral action by any party aimed at changing Taiwan's status and escalating tensions that would have an impact on the political stability and prosperity of Asia.

We simply said that no one should unilaterally change Taiwan's status. That means China.