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House of Commons Hansard #103 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was community.

Topics

Diamond IndustryStatements By Members

11 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. member for Bruce--Grey--Owen Sound.

VE DayStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

Larry Miller Conservative Grey—Bruce—Owen Sound, ON

Mr. Speaker, I recently had the honour and the privilege of attending various ceremonies commemorating VE Day, the end of the second world war and the liberation of the Netherlands by our Canadian soldiers.

I participated in ceremonies in Tara, Hanover, Durham and Owen Sound in my riding of Bruce--Grey--Owen Sound. I felt an overwhelming sense of pride in our military. The sacrifices made by the men and women who left their homes to travel to an unknown place and an unknown danger are horrific and unimaginable. They deserve our utmost gratitude.

I also participated in the Remember Yom Hashoah ceremony on Parliament Hill by presenting a wreath during the Canadian Community Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony on Parliament Hill. I was honoured to take part in the very solemn ceremony and to lay a wreath at the eternal flame alongside three Holocaust survivors. They, along with the thousands of others around the world who suffered horrendous atrocities, deserve to be remembered and recognized.

The Holocaust was a tragic event which left a black mark in our history. While I was attending the ceremony and as I watched the survivors, all I could think about was what they must have gone through. I hope we never experience anything like that again.

Holy Trinity Anglican ChurchStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Susan Kadis Liberal Thornhill, ON

Mr. Speaker, this year marks the 175th year that Holy Trinity Anglican Church has provided continuous service and worship in my riding of Thornhill. The church was co-founded by Benjamin Thorne and William Parsons. Mr. Thorne was a founding father of the Thornhill community. The church is only part of his tremendous legacy.

To celebrate the anniversary, there are many events, ranging from musical performances, summer picnics and a gala banquet to be held in October. The year-long celebrations will end with a Christmas concert in December. The music at the concert will be provided by the internationally renowned Cantabile Chorale of York Region.

The church is committed to the well-being of our community and for the last 175 years has played a vital role in that regard. The history of Holy Trinity Anglican Church is a history of Thornhill itself. In essence, Holy Trinity is a testimony to Thornhill and generations of dedicated people who have made significant contributions to our community.

I would like to congratulate all those who have been involved with Holy Trinity Anglican Church over the last 175 years. I wish the church another 175 years of exceptional service to our community.

Kyoto ProtocolStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Bloc

Serge Cardin Bloc Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, the greenhouse gas reduction plan presented by the federal government ignores a legitimate demand of Quebec, which wants to be in charge of implementing Kyoto within its jurisdiction.

Under this plan, the federal government would use public money to buy foreign credits. These credits are necessary to make up for the reduction efforts that industries will not be asked to make.

So, instead of promoting the polluter-pays principle, this government has decided to put forward the polluter-paid principle.

The effort asked of the automotive industry is very inadequate. This is also tantamount to giving a blank cheque to the federal government, which reserves the right to set up a permit system through regulations that will not be subject to the scrutiny of the House.

The Bloc Québécois is strongly opposed to this plan, which helps emitters, at the expense of taxpayers.

Pontian Greek GenocideStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Eleni Bakopanos Liberal Ahuntsic, QC

Mr. Speaker, May 19 is the date designated by the Greek Parliament and by Canadians of Greek origin as the Pontian Greek genocide remembrance day.

“Pontus” means sea in Greek and it is located in the southeastern coastal region of the Black Sea. Its connection with Hellenism stretches back to prehistoric times, to legends of Jason and the Argonauts and of Hercules, but for the Greeks living in Pontus, it all ended in tragedy in 1922. Over 350,000 were killed at the hands of the Ottomans.

I have always spoken up against these types of atrocities, these crimes against humanity, and I have fought for the recognition of genocides, including that of the Armenian genocide, on which I rose a month ago to draw attention to the first anniversary of the House's recognition of it. I will continue to speak up until the international community also recognizes the genocide of the Greeks of Pontus.

I close with the 1997 quote of Richard Beeston, diplomatic editor of the U.K. Times : “The efforts may be modest, but the importance of keeping the memory of the victims alive is more than simply an argument over history”. Member spoke in Greek and provided the following translation: ]

Long live their memory.

We will never forget.

Government of CanadaStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

Leon Benoit Conservative Vegreville—Wainwright, AB

Mr. Speaker, what has happened in this, the people's House, over the past few weeks is cause for sadness.

Yesterday a corrupt government was given more time to govern. Its corruption has been revealed not by allegations, as the Liberals like to say, but by confessions from top Liberals giving sworn testimony.

We saw the immigration minister make charges of racism and impropriety against members of the opposition and then admit he was wrong in a half-hearted apology. He then went on to allow confidential documents to be released to the public for political gain, but he is still in cabinet.

The Liberals then went on a desperate shopping spree using taxpayers' money, the people's money, to buy votes in this House in order to cling to power. This behaviour by the Liberal government simply must stop.

The tone in this House is set by the government and its behaviour, its honesty and integrity, or the lack thereof. Sad indeed.

Forestry AwardStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Jean-Claude D'Amours Liberal Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to use this opportunity to address the House today to recognize a student from my riding of Madawaska—Restigouche, Trevor Connors.

On February 10, Trevor was awarded a silver ring from the Canadian Institute of Forestry, Maritime Section. The silver ring distinction symbolizes the achievement of completing a recognized forestry program. Trevor is part of the class of 2005 in the Bachelor in Forestry at the University of New Brunswick.

I would like to congratulate Trevor for the distinction he received and wish him the best of luck in all of his future projects.

Congratulations to Trevor, and the best of luck for the future.

The BudgetStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, for the first time in months Canadians are going about their business today with confidence that Parliament, their Parliament, is once again working constructively on their behalf.

The reason? The passage of the NDP budget bill last evening, with its new funding for people and the environment. It has funding for affordable housing for families, lower tuition for students, training to help build skills and get jobs, a better environment through public transit, and global poverty relief.

Canadians have been waiting for this day for a long time. This marks the first federal NDP budget in the history of Canadian politics, going back to the founding of our party, the CCF, in the dark days of the Depression in 1933. That moment marked new hope for Canadians then, and today marks new hope for Canadians who are counting on us to expedite the budget bills and make this better balanced budget a reality as soon as possible.

FinanceStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Conservative

Barry Devolin Conservative Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock, ON

Mr. Speaker, over the past few weeks Canadians have witnessed an unprecedented orgy of spending by the Liberal government of almost $1 billion a day. The two most notable examples are the $4.6 billion deal with the NDP and the $5.75 billion deal with Dalton McGuinty.

All this caused me to wonder, how much is a billion dollars? A billion dollars is one thousand million dollars. It is enough to pay a reward of $1.8 million for every murder committed in Canada last year. It is enough to run every courtroom in this country for a year and still have enough left over to buy new MRI machines for 20 needy hospitals.

The Prime Minister boasts that he developed a reputation as a prudent fiscal manager during his 10 years as minister of finance. Over a mere three week period, Canadians have witnessed him single-handedly destroy that reputation in his desperate attempt to cling to power.

The Prime Minister should not misunderstand what happened in the House last evening. He did not receive a pardon for his inexcusable actions. He merely received a stay, because it is only a matter of time before Canadian voters deliver their verdict on his shameful misconduct.

25th Anniversary of the 1980 ReferendumStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, 25 years ago today, Quebec held its first referendum on its political future.

Forever engraved in our memory is the image of René Lévesque trying to ease the pain of thousands of sovereignists by leading them into Gens du pays and, in his hoarse voice, telling them, “If I understand you correctly, you are saying, 'until the next time'.”

Since 1980, Quebec has continued to move forward. Remaining true to itself, it has grown in unity and confidence over the past 25 years. It has become a society that is even more open to the world, even more diversified and even more inclusive.

Despite the attempts to set them back, Quebeckers have never stopped progressing. Today, Quebec is more ready than ever to take charge of its destiny and to speak for itself within the community of nations.

AgricultureStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Conservative

Diane Finley Conservative Haldimand—Norfolk, ON

Sadly, Mr. Speaker, today marks the second anniversary of the U.S. border closing to Canadian cattle, beef and other ruminant products. Throughout this time, producers and those with whom they do business have endured untold personal and financial suffering.

They have suffered greatly at the hands of free trading mercenaries south of the border. They have suffered at the hands of protectionist politicians. They have suffered at the hands of the Liberal government, which has mismanaged this agricultural crisis, one of the worst in Canadian history.

I would like to take this opportunity to commend all cattle and other ruminant producers for their resilience during these trying times. Their concerns have not gone unheard. They can rest assured that my colleagues and I in the official opposition are committed to continuing our work to find constructive solutions to help reposition this industry.

Bloc QuébécoisStatements By Members

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Françoise Boivin Liberal Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, with a logic that would have surprised even George Orwell, my colleagues opposite are preparing to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the sovereignist movement's crushing defeat in the 1980 referendum.

Despite losing two referendums, my Bloc Québécois colleagues continue to deny democracy and reject the will of Quebeckers.

Nevertheless, as the Minister of Foreign Affairs said this morning in Le Devoir , even the sovereignist camp now espouses liberal values.

The Bloc colleagues and their PQ acolytes are now trying to appropriate the ideal of the inclusive multicultural society, in which individuals of all races, languages and religions live in an environment that fosters development.

Better late than never, I suppose, but I bet that the public will remember the true origins of this philosophy. I remember the two diametrically opposed camps, not so long ago.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Conservative

Peter MacKay Conservative Central Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, David Dingwall, the man who is now paid to print money at the mint, was hired by Vickers & Benson to use his influence with former colleagues to lobby for more sponsorship money for a television program that aired only in China. Now there is a good use of sponsorship money.

This was in direct violation of the Lobbyists Registration Act. The former public works minister was so successful that in March 1999 he received $60,000 in reward money.

The Prime Minister did not wait for the Gomery commission report to fire Chrétien cronies like Jean Pelletier, André Ouellet, Marc LeFrançois or Alfonso Gagliano. When is he going to fire David Dingwall?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, clearly, as with any allegations before Gomery, we will investigate and we will ensure that prudence is taken and that the interests of Canadians are served. At the same time, we will not conduct a witch hunt based on unproven allegations.

At the end of the day we will do the right thing, and we will ensure that both the reputations and interests of individuals are protected and that we at the same time defend the interests of the Canadian taxpayer.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Conservative

Peter MacKay Conservative Central Nova, NS

I note, Mr. Speaker, that today the face of the government is yellow.

The government said yesterday that the Liberal Party intends to put money in a trust fund in the very near future. Of course we also believe in the tooth fairy, another mythical figure who drops off money. In reality, promises like this and others from the government are as empty as the rhetoric in the account. There is another order from the House that the Commons voted on and the government continues to ignore: to set up that fund.

The Liberal Party is going to receive over $2 million from Elections Canada. When will the Prime Minister honour that motion from the House? When will he put these funds in a trust account? When will the government show us the money?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has been clear and the party has been clear. Any inappropriate funds will be returned to the Canadian taxpayer. The establishment of a trust fund and the placement of $750,000 in that trust fund is an offer of good faith. That is an interim step.

Again, it is important to recognize that we cannot actually complete the transaction, the repayment to the Canadian taxpayer, without all the facts. That is why it is important that we allow Justice Gomery to complete his work.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Conservative

Peter MacKay Conservative Central Nova, NS

What would that member know about good faith or trust, Mr. Speaker?

Will the government commit today to putting the money that Elections Canada refunded the Liberal Party into the trust fund it claims to have created?

Will it finally show us the money or was that just another empty promise?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, I repeat once again that if the party has received inappropriate funds, it will reimburse the taxpayers.

It is not possible to do that without having all the facts. The establishment of a trust fund is an important act of good faith from the party that is doing the right thing to ensure that we get to the bottom of this issue and that the Canadian taxpayer is treated fairly.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Conservative

Diane Ablonczy Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, only when a possible election stared them in the face did the Liberals bow to an order of the House to put ill-gotten gains by the Liberal Party into a trust fund.

No, wait, there is no fund, because the balance in the account is zero, maybe to match Liberal credibility. Will the government explain how an empty account complies with the House order for a trust fund?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, I would draw the hon. member's attention to today's National Post editorial. It states:

Leading up to the vote, the Conservatives indicated that they would live with the result either way. Now, it's time for them to make good on their word. Rather than trying to create the winning conditions for a non-confidence vote in the next few weeks, all opposition parties should do their best to contribute productively to the business of Parliament.

Asking the same question over and over again is a waste of time on the floor of the House of Commons. They should be talking about health care, about education, about investing in housing, about some of the positive major changes--

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. member for Calgary—Nose Hill.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Conservative

Diane Ablonczy Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, if Canadians are waiting for a straight answer from this minister, they are certainly wasting their time.

Let us try again. The government should actually have called this a “trust us” fund, but this House ordered the fund because trust was broken in the dirty ad scam money mess, which the Auditor General said broke every rule in the book. Is it not true that the recent bogus trust fund announcement amounts to nothing more than an empty PR exercise?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, to the contrary, the party has been clear from the beginning that any funds received inappropriately will be returned to the Canadian taxpayer. Beyond that, the party has cooperated fully with Justice Gomery. We are working with Justice Gomery's auditors. We are looking forward to cooperating with him and to achieving a result that is in the interests of the Canadian taxpayer.

Again, these are serious allegations, and anybody who used the brand of the Liberal Party for financial gain inappropriately ought to face and will face the full extent of the law.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

May 20th, 2005 / 11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, despite the 28 recommendations on employment insurance made by the Standing Committee on Human Resources Development, the government is still refusing to respond to Quebec's interests by implementing the improvements proposed by the committee, while more than half the unemployed have no access to EI benefits.

Does the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development intend to make some adjustments, improve the program and create the independent EI fund as recommended by the Standing Committee on Human Resources Development?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Peterborough Ontario

Liberal

Peter Adams LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, if I could take some extracts from the committee report and the response of the government, the improvements we have made to EI are: the extension of maternity and parental benefits; the elimination of the intensity rule; the elimination of multiple waiting periods for apprenticeship programs; the new compassionate care benefit; and three new pilot projects expected to benefit 220,000 each year that will run in regions where unemployment is very high.

Those are a few of the examples of the improvements which this government has made to EI.