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House of Commons Hansard #72 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was c-22.

Topics

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.

Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Colin Carrie ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I thank the minister for bringing this bill forward on behalf of the parents of Oshawa and Canada. My question for the minister is very simple. Bill C-22 seems to be long overdue. I have a 13-year-old son and I cannot imagine him making a competent decision of this nature.

Does the minister expect to have unanimous consent in the House for this bill? If not, what does the minister think might be some of the problems in bringing the bill forward?

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.

Conservative

Vic Toews Conservative Provencher, MB

Mr. Speaker, for years Conservatives have been asking for this kind of change in the law. For years the former government refused, basically stating that the existing law was adequate to protect children. Yet, case after case demonstrated that children were being exploited by predators. Chat rooms across the world indicate that Canada is a target area for these predators.

When Canada walked around self-righteously saying that it was passing sex tourism laws to protect children in third world countries, it took no steps to protect the children right here in Canada. I look at that unfortunate situation where an adult sexual predator comes to Canada and freely confesses that he is going to have sex with a 15-year-old runaway that he has put up in a motel. He thinks there is nothing wrong with that. In Canadian law there was nothing wrong with it. Fortunately, this person was turned back and the Americans charged him with that exploitation. He received 10 years in prison for what is common practice in Canada.

I would hope that all members in this House recognize the problem. and will step up to protect children by supporting Bill C-22.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Liberal

Sue Barnes Liberal London West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak to Bill C-22. I am also very aware that all the justice critics need to be in committee for clause by clause of another justice bill right after this, so I am going to truncate my remarks to help get all the right people in the room who need to be there shortly after question period.

I will say at the outset that our party will support the bill. In doing so, we are following up on work that has gone on over a number of years. The Speech from the Throne of October 5, 2004 committed the government to cracking down on child pornography. Similarly, in the previous Speech from the Throne, the former Liberal government committed to reinstating former Bill C-20, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (protection of children and other vulnerable persons) and the Canada Evidence Act.

The bill was reinstated on February 12, 2004 as Bill C-12. It was awaiting second reading in the Senate at the time of that Parliament's dissolution for a federal election. In June 2004 the then prime minister reiterated support for reintroduction of the package as the first legislative item in the new Parliament. I know that the former minister of justice, the hon. member for Mount Royal, introduced in the former Parliament Bill C-2, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (protection of children and other vulnerable persons) and the Canada Evidence Act. It received third reading on June 9, 2005, royal assent on July 20, 2005, and came into force in its entirety less than a year ago, on January 2, 2006. Bill C-2, then, is built on reforms previously proposed in the former Bill C-12 and proposed reforms in five key areas.

I might reiterate, too, that former Bill C-12, by a procedural motion, a hoist motion, from the then opposition Conservative Party, was prevented from going forward a couple of years earlier.

Be that as it may, when I hear the Minister of Justice incorrectly saying that nothing was done, I have to put on the record that we did strengthen prohibitions against child pornography.

We broadened the definition of child pornography to include audio formats as well as written material “that has, as its predominant characteristic, the description of prohibited sexual activity” with children “where that description is provided for a sexual purpose“. We prohibited advertising child pornography, increasing the maximum sentences and making a number of offences have more bite.

We wanted to protect young persons against sexual exploitation. One of the things that I like in Bill C-22 is that the government has not disposed of that section that was so important, the section that talked about the exploitation of children. It had prohibited sexual activity with young persons between 14 and 18. Under Bill C-2, a court would be directed to “infer that a relationship is exploitative of the young person based on its nature and circumstances, including the age of the young person, any difference of age, the evolution of the relationship, and the degree of control or influence exercised over the young person”.

Consistent with the existing criminal law treatment of sexual assault, that bill focused on the offending conduct of the accused rather than just on the young person's consent to that conduct. That was always the concern, that it was not just an age number, because the age of 14 has been in the Criminal Code and utilized since the late 1800s. It was the “exploitative” nature, and I am pleased that the bill keeps this, because that helps in our being able to come forward with our consent today.

We did increase the penalties for offences against children.

We facilitated testimony not only for child victims and witnesses under 18 years but for other vulnerable victims and witnesses. This is procedural, to help stop re-victimization in the court process.

We created a new voyeurism offence. Today we have those cameras that take pictures; that is why we needed this.

In 2002 we also created the offence of Internet luring under section 172.1 of the Criminal Code. That prohibited the use of a computer system, including the Internet, to communicate with a young person for the purpose of committing a sexual assault against that person. It can and is being successfully charged, irrespective of whether a sexual assault actually took place. The fact of the offending conduct of trying to lure a child via a computer system is what we were getting at and it is there.

Also, just a few weeks back, a private member's bill on increasing sentences passed in the House.

Today's Bill C-22 is an improvement over former private members' bills, no matter how good the intention was. The fact is that now this bill has the five year close in age exception and that will go a long way, I think, in helping us to accept this bill and give our consent to it.

In fact, in our Liberal justice plan announced last week, this was one of the bills that we said would be put forward and given consent by our party, along with the other bills of conditional sentencing and imprisonment, as amended in committee, such as: Bill C-9; Bill C-18, an act to amend certain Acts in relation to DNA identification; Bill C-19, an act to amend the Criminal Code (street racing) and to make a consequential amendment to the Corrections and Conditional Release Act; Bill C-23, an act to amend the Criminal Code (criminal procedure, language of the accused, sentencing and other amendments); and Bill C-26, an act to amend the Criminal Code (criminal interest rate), which was debated in the House last week under the topic of payday loans.

We on this side will add Bill C-22 to that list of bills. There are about 11 government justice bills. This one makes six that the Liberals are prepared to move forward in the Liberal justice plan, although we do not think that these bills are universally perfect. But we could find flaws with all pieces of legislation in the House. There are sections in this bill to do with unconstitutional areas of the Criminal Code, which we could have fixed. The justice minister has chosen not to do that, but at this stage I think the protection of children should be our utmost priority.

Listening in the chamber today was one of the good police officers who has to work in this area. He was kind enough to give some Liberal members a briefing. Unfortunately, his colleague from the federal police services was not allowed to do that, for reasons unknown.

On this side of the House, we as the official opposition are prepared to support this bill. I am prepared now to move on and give my time so that critics from the other parties can all be present in the justice committee for voting measures later this afternoon on another piece of legislation. There is unequivocal support here for Bill C-22.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Bloc Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, I will say quickly that the Bloc Québécois is well aware that the issue of sexual predatory conduct and sexual predators is extremely important because it goes hand in hand with the exploitation of children.

Even though we believe that there are already several provisions of the Criminal Code that address this matter, we are prepared to send the bill to committee, to work hard, to listen to witnesses—who may be working in the judicial system, in youth protection or human development—to hear all points of view. In principle, we are in favour of this bill.

At present, in the Criminal Code, there are provisions that prohibit an individual in a position of authority—a teacher, someone responsible for or in charge of children—to have sexual relations of any kind with a child younger than 14.

This provision will be upheld and even given more teeth within the bill. However, a certain number of other provisions will be added. The bill mentions an exception for proximity in age. Persons aged 14 or 15 could consent to non-exploitative sexual activity with persons who are five years older or less. Therefore, a person aged 15 could have non-exploitative sexual relations with a person aged 16, 17, 18, 19 or 20, without any cause for criminal charges.

The other age difference exception is two years. Young people aged 12 and 13 could have non-exploitative sexual relations with partners aged 14 or 15.

The bill also includes a transitional provision, which, on the day this act comes into force, will allow young people aged 14 or 15 and their partners who are more than five years older to legally continue having sexual contact if, and only if, they are married, living in common law relationships or have children, without there being cause for criminal charges.

The whole matter of age of consent to sexual activity is extremely important. Once again, the Bloc Québécois supports the bill in principle and is prepared to send the bill to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights because we want to send a very clear message. We, as a political party, do not accept the sexual exploitation of children—no more than any other party in this House does. The issue of sexual exploitation of children is extremely important to us.

The Criminal Code already has provisions on Internet luring, sexual assault and relations with a person in a position of authority. We think these provisions are used when it is relevant to do so.

The government wants to raise the age of sexual consent to 16 years in general, but have three exceptions for sexual relations where an age difference will be tolerated.

The Bloc Québécois agrees with this. In committee, we will work hard to ensure that the maximum number of witnesses are heard from and that the bill is improved where appropriate.

I will now turn the floor over to my colleague from the NDP so he can talk about this issue before oral question period.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin NDP Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Mr. Speaker, like the other two opposition justice critics, I will be brief in my comments. I would indicate at the outset, as opposed to some of the comments that we heard from the Prime Minister in public last week, that this is not a bill that any of the opposition parties are intrinsically opposed to. However, I am planning on moving a couple of amendments at committee.

I want to say to the Prime Minister that it was totally inaccurate of him to characterize this bill as one that has been held up by this Parliament or by the justice committee. Today is the first time that the bill has been before the House at second reading. The bill has not been here before. Opposition party members have not had the ability to delay the bill.

Bill C-22 has been sitting on the order paper. It was introduced at first reading back in June. The government, which the Prime Minister leads, has simply sat on the bill for that length of time. He should not point the finger at the opposition parties as in any way causing a delay with respect to this bill.

The issue of raising the age of consent from 14 to 16 has stirred a great deal of controversy in the country. As opposed to the justice minister's comments, the reality is that the age of consent has not been changed since the turn of the last century, that is when it turned from 1800 to 1900. At that time the age of consent in Canada was 12 years of age. It has not been lowered. In fact, it was raised at that time.

It is appropriate with the additional defences and protections that are in the bill, which is not what we got from the Conservative Party, or the Alliance, or the Reform. It was not in those private members' bills. The government has obviously come to its senses, in part because of a great deal of debate that went on in the justice committee in the last Parliament around the child pornography bill which was before the committee and which was eventually passed by the House. There was a great deal of debate at that time about the age of consent. As a result of the evidence that we heard from experts and people working in the field, this bill moves the age of consent from 14 to 16. At the same time we are building in some defences.

For those people who believe on a moral, ideological or religious basis that youth 14 to 16 years of age should not be engaged in any sexual activity and that we should make it a crime, that is not what this bill does. It never was intended to do that. In fact, if we did that, we would be criminalizing sexual activity of around 200,000 youth 14 to 16 years of age. I want to be very clear to the public that we are not doing that.

The bill also builds in a secondary defence with regard to the nature of the relationship, even where the couple has a relationship of an age grouping greater than five years. That is in a marital situation or where a child is expected as a result of the relationship.

I am proposing to move two amendments. One amendment is to clear up a problem that has been found to be discriminatory by two of our courts of appeal. The Liberal government never got around to amending it and the Conservative government has not either. It is clearly discriminatory, particularly to young people and to the gay community. That amendment is badly needed. It is an appropriate time to do it in this bill. I would appreciate the opportunity to move that amendment at committee.

I will make a final point with regard to the amendments that I will be proposing. Health care workers have a great concern about this bill and the situation of those youth who are in a relationship that is greater than five years and who contract a sexually transmitted disease. Under those circumstances, because of provincial law, people who go in to get treatment and care have to disclose all of their sexual partners. Those youth who did that may very well find that the evidence would be compelled to be used in a court of law against their partner. They would not want to do that and therefore, they may very well resist going for treatment and care, according to the health care workers.

I will be proposing an amendment to the Canada Evidence Act that will make that information non-compellable. There is precedent for this in our law. It would be a wise amendment. It would protect our youth. It would ensure that they got treatment if they were to contract those types of illnesses and diseases. At the same time, it would protect them in terms of the balance of the bill from being used as bait by predators.

Private Brent GintherStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Casson Conservative Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is not every day that we have the opportunity to meet a real Canadian hero, but over the Thanksgiving weekend I did just that when I met Private Brent Ginther from the town of Coaldale in my riding.

This quiet reserved young man had finally arrived home after being seriously injured in Afghanistan on June 12 while serving with the Canadian armed forces. These past months he spent recovering in an Edmonton hospital and has many more months of rehabilitation ahead of him.

Members of the community turned out in force to show their respect and support for Brent. An honour guard greeted him at the airport. A police escort led the limousine procession through the streets lined with yellow ribbons, while hundreds of flag-waving school children and citizens welcomed Brent home. An evening reception put on by the townspeople was organized to support Brent and to thank him for continuing the Canadian tradition of fighting for freedom and protecting those less fortunate.

When I went to his home to pass on the good wishes of the citizens of southern Alberta, he was surrounded by family and friends and was obviously very happy to finally be enjoying the comforts of home.

We all wish Private Ginther a full recovery and thank him for his sacrifice. As Remembrance Day approaches, we will not forget.

PeacekeepingStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Andrew Telegdi Liberal Kitchener—Waterloo, ON

Mr. Speaker, October 23, 2006 marked the 50th anniversary of the Hungarian revolution. The success of the revolution was impaired by the ill-advised Suez invasion launched by Israel, Britain and France on October 29, 1956 which brought the world to the brink of a third world war.

The Suez crisis was defused by future Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson for which he received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1957. His diplomatic solution included the creation of the first United Nations blue helmet peacekeeping force. This marked the beginning of our proud tradition of using peacekeeping to resolve international disputes. Since then, more than 100,000 Canadians have participated in peacekeeping missions.

The world needs more of Canada.

LiteracyStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Diane Bourgeois Bloc Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, in April 2006, the Conservative government combined adult training, literacy and basic skills acquisition programs. Five months later, it cut funding by $17.7 million. Yet the government said that skills were essential to productivity and well-being.

The federal government did not hold consultations, nor did it offer an explanation, yet it slyly took it upon itself to exclude nearly a million Quebeckers from participating in the economy and the knowledge based society.

The federal government is irresponsible and insensitive, and it lacks long term vision. Is this another expression of its ideological stance on literacy? Since this matter falls under Quebec's jurisdiction, the Bloc Québécois is demanding that the government transfer funds to enable Quebec to support literacy programs for the people who really need it.

Climate ChangeStatements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, today the former chief economist of the World Bank, Nicholas Stern, sounded the alarm about the environmental crisis we are facing. I will quote: “Climate change...is the greatest...market failure” the world has every seen. He said that unchecked global warming will devastate the world economy on the scale of the world wars and the Great Depression.

The Conservatives' so-called clean air act, which is dead on arrival, fails to address the climate change crisis. Under their plan, pollution will go up, not down. Ordinary Canadians cannot wait any longer.

That is why the NDP has called on the government to achieve these five critical points: an 80% reduction in Canada's greenhouse gas pollution by 2050; an end to subsidies to the oil and gas industry; a moratorium on new oil sands development; support for an east-west power grid; and most important, encouragement of green investment.

The NDP calls on the House of Commons to act now on the climate change crisis and not wait until it is too late.

JusticeStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Nepean—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, on crime and corruption the Liberals have broken their election promises. We all remember that in a deathbed conversion at election time, the Liberals promised they were no longer soft on crime. Yet last week the Liberals on the justice committee voted to let arsonists, car thieves and burglars serve their sentences in the comfort of their own homes.

Conservatives want to replace house arrest with mandatory jail time for serious auto thieves and arsonists, but not if the Liberals can help it. Instead, on crime and corruption the Liberals are flipping and flopping. The accountability bill has now been in the Senate twice as long as it was in the House of Commons. The Liberal Senate wants to bring back big money, reduce access to information and legalize phantom jobs for their friends. They also want to exempt themselves from the new ethics watchdog created by the bill.

It is time they stopped watering down the bill. It is time they kept their promises and supported our tough on crime and accountability--

JusticeStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Etobicoke-Centre

Internment of Croatian CanadiansStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Borys Wrzesnewskyj Liberal Etobicoke Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to welcome to Ottawa, John Marion and the other members of the Committee on Education, Culture and Heritage of the Canadian-Croatian Chamber of Commerce who took part in today's press conference announcing the introduction of my private member's bill, the internment of persons of Croatian origin recognition act.

The bill seeks to officially acknowledge and commemorate the tragic episode in our nation's history when approximately 400 Canadians of Croatian origin were rounded up, interned and used as forced labour in a number of locations during Canada's first world war internment operations.

The prejudice, racism and injustices carried out against members of the Croatian community, who were pioneers encouraged to settle and help build Canada, devastated an entire generation of its community and left a black mark on our common history.

After 86 years, it is high time that the internment operation against Croatian Canadians be properly addressed and the resources set aside to establish educational projects so that present and future generations of Canadians will have the opportunity to learn from this tragic episode in our common history.

AfghanistanStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Cheryl Gallant Conservative Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to read a poem about Afghanistan written by Josh Forbes, one of our brave soldiers. It is to the member for Toronto—Danforth.

You sit there in your quiet home, no fear is in your heart,
You sleep soundly, certain that it won't be blown apart.
Your children they can go to school and play out in the park,
They've never seen a bomb explode, heard air raids in the dark.
They've never seen dead bodies piled up on the street,
Your wife, she won't be beaten, treated like a piece of meat.
You are free to form opinions, read any newsprint you see,
You enjoy your rights and privileges, in this country wide and free.
The reason you can live like that is because I fight your wars,
I fight and push the enemy back, I keep them off our shores.
I'm here and you're there pretending you know best,
Well, ole [member] now listen close, while I get this off my chest.
You have the right to criticize, you have the right to complain,
You don't have the right to drag me down in a stupid political game.
The thing about your rights...the parts you can't comprehend,
Is you work in the very system, the democracy I defend.
I stand on the fences around the world, protecting those who need it
It is not for you to determine...whether or not it's worth it.
Ask the people of Afghanistan--

AfghanistanStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Verchères—Les Patriotes.

ADISQ GalaStatements By Members

October 30th, 2006 / 2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Luc Malo Bloc Verchères—Les Patriotes, QC

The 28th ADISQ Gala was held last night at the St. Denis Theatre in Montreal. Again this year, the event celebrated the vitality and diversity of Quebec's music scene.

Sixty Felix awards were given out to honour our artists' creativity and the originality of their work. There was something for everyone: from Pierre Lapointe's inspired poetry to Simple Plan's internationally successful rock, and from Ariane Moffatt's sensitive lyrics to Malajube's boldness. The gala also paid homage to Quebec's all-time greatest artists: there was a vibrant tribute to Diane Dufresne, a flamboyant woman who embodies emotion, and Robert Charlebois, after 40 years in the business, showed us that he could still rock.

The Bloc Québécois and I would like to express our sincere congratulations to the winners and all of the nominees.

Skilled Trades DayStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Goldring Conservative Edmonton East, AB

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to an extraordinary craftsperson who is here in Ottawa in support of Skilled Trades Day in Canada.

Through his work, this man demonstrates that going beyond mere minimum standards in work, effort and materials produces good value and construction permanency. He encourages young people to pursue skilled trade careers to accomplish these ideals.

He is an example of the best of Canada's craftspeople, an authority on home construction and a tireless advocate for improved building standards. He is a determined proponent of building it right the first time. He has established a non-profit foundation which partners with schools, business and governments and offers scholarships and bursaries to encourage youth considering trade careers.

Also, he gives back to his community and to the world in support of SOS Children's Villages, an international charity that helps homeless children. An accomplished master builder with a social conscience, Mr. Mike Holmes.

Primrose Lake AgreementStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Gary Merasty Liberal Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River, SK

Mr. Speaker, just like the Kelowna accord before it, the Conservatives are trying to get out of another agreement with Saskatchewan aboriginal people.

Métis in northwestern Saskatchewan have long deserved justice for being displaced during the establishment of the Primrose Lake Air Weapons Range. The previous Liberal government responded to this call for justice. Working with the leadership of the Primrose Lake Air Weapons Range negotiating committee and its chairman, Alex Maurice, a $19.5 million economic development agreement was secured to benefit the communities of Jans Bay, Cole Bay, Ile-á-la-Crosse and Beauval.

However, the Conservatives, in tandem with the NDP and the Bloc, threw the agreement into jeopardy by forcing the last election. The former Conservative MP from my riding repeatedly stated that a Conservative government would honour the agreement, pledging this to even Métis elders and yet 10 months later there is no action, only stall and delay tactics.

These Conservative tactics are inexcusable and an insult to the Métis elders and communities. In the name and the honour of the Crown, the government must honour the Primrose Lake agreement.

AfghanistanStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Daniel Petit Conservative Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Mr. Speaker, today the Minister of National Defence and the Minister of International Cooperation will send off 78 soldiers stationed at the Valcartier military base, who will be joining 2,300 members of the Canadian reconstruction team already in Afghanistan.

We should remember that the sole objective of our troops on the ground is to help rebuild Afghanistan and to establish a healthy social and political climate for the Afghan people. There is no doubt that these efforts are bearing fruit, as was pointed out by President Karzai in this House when he was in Canada.

These efforts are part of the Canadian military's longstanding tradition, which dates back to the founding of our nation, of seeking to bring peace, democracy and justice to the four corners of the earth.

Our new Canadian government is proud to unanimously support our valiant and courageous men and women stationed in Afghanistan.

AgricultureStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Alex Atamanenko NDP British Columbia Southern Interior, BC

Mr. Speaker, what is happening to our Canada? The future of our country is slowly being decided behind closed doors in secret meetings, with no public input and no reporting to the press.

The security and prosperity partnership of North America was launched in 2005 to fast track the deep integration of Canada, Mexico and the U.S. Secret meetings have been held as lately as September this year.

The emerging pattern is disturbing. We have bowed to U.S. pressure to sign a bad softwood lumber deal. Our troops are now in a U.S. led search and kill mission in Afghanistan and the Conservative government is doing something the Americans have been trying to do for a long time: to dismantle our farmer run Canadian Wheat Board.

The future of agriculture and our rural way of life is being dictated by big government without a vote by farmers. In essence, a very blatant attempt is being made to transform Canadian society. We must not let this happen.

Circle of CanadiansStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Liberal Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Mr. Speaker, on November 1, my colleagues, the members for Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia and Ottawa Centre, and I will co-chair the third annual Circle of Canadians benefit dinner. This year's proceeds will go to the Ottawa Food Bank and the Snowsuit Fund.

In addition to its generous support for charities, the Circle of Canadians celebrates cultural diversity. It brings together Canadians from every origin in the spirit of understanding, open-mindedness and respect.

As we know, benefit dinners do not happen by themselves. I, therefore, wish to pay tribute to the entire board of directors of the Circle of Canadians. I also wish to single out the constant devotion of its vice-president, Salma Siddiqui, whose ceaseless efforts have made this year's dinner a sold-out event. Ms. Siddiqui epitomizes the value of volunteerism and of responsible citizenship. I salute her and her fellow board members and look forward to a most pleasant and worthwhile evening this Wednesday.

Inuit ChildrenStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Yvon Lévesque Bloc Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou, QC

Mr. Speaker, the report of the Canadian Human Rights Commission has sounded the alarm. Inuit children in Nunavik live in terror. They are victims of physical violence, incest, repeated sexual assault and substance abuse.

The worsening shortage in housing and specialized facilities as well as promiscuity often force youth to return to live with their aggressors.

Canada is a signatory of the UN Declaration on the Rights of the Child. Why is it not providing Inuit children with the protection to which they are entitled? It is possible to tackle this violence, to provide security and to assist in the development of Inuit children by providing them with safe homes, among other things.

The Bloc Québécois urges the government to take concrete action to improve the living conditions of Inuit youth by making a serious investment in the construction of housing in Nunavik.

Navy Appreciation DayStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh Liberal Vancouver South, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak in the House today in recognition of the Navy Appreciation Day being held on Parliament Hill.

Navy Appreciation Day is an all party event designed to recognize and thank members of Canada's Navy for their important work and their sacrifices for our country. All members are welcome to attend the reception this evening in the reading room, 237-C, at 5:30 p.m.

The Navy League of Canada has organized tonight's reception. The league is a volunteer organization and part of its mandate is providing programs for youth: the Navy League Cadets and the Canadian Sea Cadets.

I invite members to attend this event and to mark the invaluable contribution of the members of Canada's Navy and, indeed, of all our Canadian Forces.

Federal Accountability ActStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Harold Albrecht Conservative Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

Mr. Speaker, today is day 131 of the Liberal Senate's deliberate delay of the toughest anti-corruption law in Canadian history, the federal accountability act.

Canadians were sickened to hear of bundles of cash in brown envelopes being passed from Liberal to Liberal in the sponsorship scandal, which is why our Conservative government moved immediately to ban big money in politics. We banned all donations over $1,000, banned corporate and union donations and banned cash donations of more than $20.

Sadly, the Liberal Senate has moved to undo this good work by allowing big money to creep back into politics by doubling the $1,000 limit.

The Liberals should be ashamed for allowing their senators to do their dirty work. Canadians will not allow an unelected and unaccountable Liberal Senate to stand in the way of accountability.

Government LegislationOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the government, having failed to govern effectively, is now trying to shift the blame onto the opposition. Canadians did not want the Prime Minister to have a majority, yet he insists on acting like he has one: no consultation, muzzling anyone who disagrees and then complaining when he does not get his way.

Why does the Prime Minister not follow his own advice of two years ago, when he said Parliament was supposed to run the country and not just the leader of the largest party, and start working with the majority in the House who want to accomplish things for all Canadians in our country?

Government LegislationOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, on the federal accountability act, the Leader of the Opposition will remember that this bill passed the House, after three months of considerable debate and amendment, without a single member standing in opposition to that.

If the hon. member really wants the elected Parliament to run the House, then he should stand up and say where he actually stands on the issue rather than leave it to his unelected senators to undo the work of the House.