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House of Commons Hansard #124 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was religious.

Topics

Child CareOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

Rona Ambrose Conservative Edmonton—Spruce Grove, AB

Mr. Speaker, at least on this side of the House we would have given this money to parents already.

The Liberals say they take child poverty seriously and yet their day care deal leaves millions of children without financial support. The Conservative Party has committed to providing each and every child with significant financial support, regardless of whether or not their parents choose day care or stay home.

Why is the government refusing to give this money equally to every child in Canada?

Child CareOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Ken Dryden LiberalMinister of Social Development

Mr. Speaker, there is another great difference between the party opposite in here--

Child CareOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Child CareOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. We need to have a little order. Hon. members will get cheated out of an opportunity to ask a lot of questions with all this noise. The Minister of Social Development has the floor and I am sure hon. members want to hear the answer and all those differences. The hon. Minister of Social Development.

Child CareOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Ken Dryden Liberal York Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the biggest difference is that this government is delivering on a $5 billion commitment over five years for a national system of early learning and child care.

All that has happened on the other side of the House was a campaign promise 13 months ago, discouraging words ever since and vague talk at this particular moment. There is a huge difference between each side.

International AdoptionOral Question Period

June 28th, 2005 / 2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Canada-Vietnam agreement on international adoption, which has been awaited for two years, is being compromised because Ottawa wants to limit the legal scope of it, to the detriment of parents and children, something that is totally unacceptable according to the Quebec minister of international relations, who says this sets us back 40 years.

As dozens of this type of agreement have been signed by Quebec, how does the Prime Minister explain his government's desire to now question Quebec's authority in international adoptions, a field that is clearly under its jurisdiction?

International AdoptionOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, first, Vietnam is the one calling for an international treaty with other countries to permit international adoptions. It is Vietnam's request. Instead of criticizing, the leader of the Bloc Québécois should be happy, because this is good news. After a three or four year moratorium, Canadians can now adopt Vietnamese children. It is good news, and I am very happy that Canada could sign a framework agreement and that now the provinces, including Quebec, will be able to negotiate within the framework.

International AdoptionOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier, QC

Mr. Speaker, apparently, the Government of Quebec does not find it good news and has said so clearly. The framework agreement is not at issue. What is, is the fact that Quebec had negotiated with Vietnam on jurisdiction over international adoptions, and Ottawa is changing its mind and setting conditions for Quebec in this regard, according to the Government of Quebec.

Why set these conditions rather than do what has been done in many other cases where there is a framework agreement? However, the international schedule is in Quebec's domain. Why these conditions?

International AdoptionOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, let us be clear. The government of Vietnam wants a treaty protecting children, a treaty with the force of international law. This area is clearly under the jurisdiction of the Government of Canada. This is of concern to us. It is our job, and we delivered the goods yesterday with an agreement of great interest to families and Vietnamese children seeking adoption. Now that this treaty has been negotiated with Vietnam, with the force of international law, the Government of Quebec, clearly, can negotiate its own agreement, since it is responsible for adoption.

International AdoptionOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Bloc La Pointe-de-l'Île, QC

Mr. Speaker, Quebec and Vietnam negotiated an agreement two years ago on adopting children from that country. For this agreement to be valid under international law, since Quebec is not a sovereign country, Vietnam asked the federal government to sign an agreement also.

Why did the federal government use it to backtrack on the understanding negotiated by Quebec, as it has done a number of times in the past, when the Government of Quebec acted within its jurisdiction? Why is the federal government acting in such bad faith?

International AdoptionOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I must say that we are very proud to have this treaty with Vietnam. The Government of Quebec is perfectly within its jurisdiction in the area of adoption. The situation in Quebec is quite special since we have the civil code. The Quebec understanding should reflect the laws as they exist in Quebec. However, as far as international law is concerned, it is the agreement the Government of Canada signed yesterday that provides the force of international law and the protection Vietnam was seeking. Nonetheless, the Quebec government's understanding governs the conditions for adoption in Quebec.

International AdoptionOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Bloc La Pointe-de-l'Île, QC

Mr. Speaker, the understanding reached between the Government of Quebec and the Vietnamese government was negotiated with the approval of the former minister of foreign affairs, who approved the wording himself.

Why is the current Minister of Foreign Affairs insisting on setting things back 40 years in matters of adoption, by taking responsibilities away from Quebec? Why this step backwards by the minister, when hundreds of parents are waiting to adopt hundreds of waiting children?

International AdoptionOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, children and families are precisely what we are concerned about. Let us think about the children and the families and let us stop raising constitutional issues and try to obtain international recognition for a right that is very clear under international law. Children and families are what must count the most here.

I do not see how the minister could have approved the wording two years ago, as the hon. member just said, when it was finalized this weekend. Really, there are limits.

International AidOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, thanks to the member for Halifax, Parliament has now voted to set a target of 0.7% of GDP in foreign aid by 2015. Canadians want this to happen, thousands of Canadians, like all those involved in making poverty history. MPs want this to happen. Canadians want us to be part of the family of nations that keeps its promises.

Will the Prime Minister commit to achieving 0.7% of GDP in foreign aid by 2015 as requested by Parliament and this House?

International AidOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, this government is committed to the 0.7% and we would very much like to achieve that target by the year 2015. However we believe it is crucial that nations keep their commitments, which means they have to set out how they are going to do it.

I remember very clearly the agreement of the international community to achieving primary education for all young Africans by the year 2015. That is a commitment that has not been lived up to. I remember the first commitment on climate change in Rio de Janeiro, which is another commitment the international community did not live up to.

The fact is that countries must keep their commitments, and if they are going to do it, they should set out how they will do it. We will set the example.

International AidOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the only example that the government has set is the breaking of international commitments, whether it be climate change or repressing poverty.

It was under the Liberal administration that Canadian foreign aid fell as a percentage of GDP, at the same time as leading nations in the world were honouring a promise that was established by a Canadian prime minister, for heaven's sake.

When will the Prime Minister begin to listen to Parliament? Parliament has just adopted the position that Canada should honour its international promises. Does the Prime Minister not hear, and if not, why not?

International AidOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, we have led the world in cutting the debt of poor countries. We are in the process right now of doubling our aid to Africa.

A commentator in this House last year said, “Every time you propose an idea, you have to identify a source of funding”. That was in a book called Speaking Out published in 2004. The quote is at page 192. The author is Jack Layton.

International AidOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

The Speaker

I assume the Minister of Finance meant the hon. member for Toronto--Danforth and, if so, I know he would want to be correct the next time he answered such a question.

The hon. member for Calgary--Nose Hill.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Diane Ablonczy Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, there is growing evidence that this Liberal government misuses residency permits for political advantage.

Equally troubling, the recent ethics report also confirmed the involvement of the Prime Minister's own office. According to Democracy Watch, the PMO had information about permit abuse but did nothing.

Why did the Prime Minister's Office not call in the Ethics Commissioner about evidence it had of unfairness in Canada's immigration system?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, I am not sure whether the hon. member is referring to the Ethics Commissioner's second report where he found that one of her old colleagues was asking for 232 letters of guarantee before there was an intervention on behalf of a constituent.

We believe they are going to operate on behalf of a constituent at all times with no letters of guarantee but doing appropriate due diligence.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Diane Ablonczy Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Evasive tactics, Mr. Speaker.

The discovery of partisan misuse of residency permits in the 2004 election by the Liberals may well be just the tip of the iceberg. A brave whistleblower provided evidence of abuse of permits personally authorized by a Liberal immigration minister.

The ethics report identified that during the election 97% of permits issued at an MP's request went to Liberals.

Did anyone in the Prime Minister's Office direct the former minister to approve this flood of election period permits for Liberals?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, I am happy to say that in my period of time as the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, we have duly presided over roughly half a million decisions.

I want to put that 97% of 70-plus decisions into context. As the House will recall, last year 1,100,000 permits were issued for entry into the country, be they tourist visas, student visas, work visas or permanent residencies. So far it is about 600,000 this year.

I am sure the member will be delighted to hear that we are operating--

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Edmonton—Strathcona.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Rahim Jaffer Conservative Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, mafioso Antonio Commisso easily found refuge in Canada.

A man whom the international justice system describes as a bloodthirsty organized crime leader has managed to live here after easily entering through the Pierre Elliott Trudeau airport.

How can we trust a government that is not even able to refuse mobsters?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, surely the member would not expect us to talk about a specific case here on the floor of the House, especially when we are not sure whether the member is a real member or whether it is a staff member who he sent to replace him.