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House of Commons Hansard #74 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was chair.

Topics

2 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

It being Wednesday, we will now have the singing of the national anthem, led by the hon. member for Yukon.

[Members sang the national anthem]

Butter Tart TrailStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Gary Schellenberger Conservative Perth—Wellington, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to highlight the Butter Tart Trail in the township of Wellington North. Located at the north end of Wellington County, Wellington North is anchored by the town of Mount Forest and the village of Arthur.

The Butter Tart Trail highlights 13 points of interest, including bakeries, flea markets, antique shops, produce markets, goat and sheep dairies, and a pottery studio. The trail was developed to encourage tourists to stop as they pass through on Highway 6.

The idea for the trail comes from a basic principle of community economic development: work with what you have. This strategy is working, as CBC Radio and Report on Business magazine recently discovered.

I want to commend the council and staff of Wellington North, the tourism committee and local businesses for finding a unique way to promote economic development.

Student Exchange ProgramStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

John McKay Liberal Scarborough—Guildwood, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is with considerable sadness that I acknowledge the government's termination of the summer work student exchange program. For the last 11 years, this program has provided opportunities for 1,200 students each year to gain valuable work experience in another part of the country.

The program, unique to Canada, allows students from every socio-economic group to participate. For many people in Scarborough—Guildwood, the program represents a once in a lifetime opportunity to live and work in Quebec or New Brunswick. For six weeks students explore other Canadian cultures and hone their second language skills.

What is next on the neo-con chopping block? The summer student work program? Over 40 students from my riding participate in that program.

The government's callous, meanspirited attitude toward students across this country is perverse. What do these neo-cons have against students and education?

Agriculture and Agri-FoodStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Bouchard Bloc Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

Mr. Speaker, this morning the members of the Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean Union des producteurs agricoles demonstrated in Jonquière—Alma, the riding of the Minister of Labour, to try to wake up the government to the crisis that is causing particular suffering for grain producers.

With regard to income support, the current federal government contribution to program costs has decreased from 40% to 20%, according to the UPA. Quebec only receives, on average, 6.8% of the budget even though it represents 18% of the agricultural sector.

The producers' situation has been deteriorating since 2002. The latter have seen their average annual income drop from $20,000 to a loss of $6,000. The federal government is abandoning the 6,000 farmers of Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean.

If the Quebec Conservative members are unable to remind the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food that agriculture exists in Quebec, the Bloc Québécois will see to it.

Child Tax BenefitStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government's disastrous administration of the child tax benefit has left single parents, and yes, they still are mostly women, on the losing side in a game of he said, she said.

The child tax benefit is supposed to provide a financial benefit for low income parents who are the caregivers for their children, but Revenue Canada will not give that money to single parents if a former spouse or common law partner has failed to inform Revenue Canada of his new address. The CCRA's assumption is that he is still contributing to the household income.

Simply because the ex has failed to file his taxes or is fraudulently still using the mother's mailing address or is incommunicado, the burden of proof falls on the single mom to prove that he has moved out. Having to prove that someone is not living with a person is a bizarre and onerous requirement that takes the notion of jumping through bureaucratic hoops to new extremes.

The time to change the rules is now. Single moms might not be on this government's list of five priorities, but I say, do it for their children.

Military ValourStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Guy Lauzon Conservative Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry, ON

Mr. Speaker, Her Excellency the Governor General will soon decorate four Canadian soldiers for incredible acts of heroism in Afghanistan. They will be the first recipients of Canada's honours for military valour, which were created 14 years ago.

Sergeant Patrick Tower, of Victoria, B.C., will receive the Star of Military Valour for crossing open terrain under heavy fire to lead a besieged platoon to safety.

Three others will receive the Medal of Military Valour.

Sergeant Michael Denine, of Edmonton, Alberta, exited the hatch of his armoured vehicle under heavy fire to man a machine gun, forcing an enemy withdrawal.

Corporal Jason Lamont, of Greenwood, Nova Scotia, sprinted through open terrain under intense fire to give first aid to a wounded comrade.

Master Corporal Collin Ryan Fitzgerald, from Morrisburg, Ontario, in my riding, exposed himself to enemy fire to enter a burning vehicle and remove it from the roadway, allowing his comrades to escape an ambush.

I ask all my colleagues to join me in saluting these remarkable heroes.

Court Challenges ProgramStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Brian Murphy Liberal Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

Mr. Speaker, on October 25 the Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne made an application to the Federal Court of Canada to have the government's decision to cancel the court challenges program declared null and void.

In the past, the court challenges program has enabled Acadians to obtain services in their own language and to have French language schools in their own communities. These are essential services. Not only are the cuts unacceptable, they jeopardize the ability of Acadian society to live, develop and prosper in their own language.

This is why I support the FCFA court action and further invite the minority government to come to its senses and reinstate funding to the court challenges program immediately.

Domestic ViolenceStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Nina Grewal Conservative Fleetwood—Port Kells, BC

Mr. Speaker, I express my condolences, sympathy and prayers to the families of the three women murdered or attacked in Surrey.

Mrs. Manjit Panghali, a mother of a three year old and a mother to be, had earlier disappeared and her burnt body has been found.

Mrs. Gurjeet Ghuman, who is in critical condition, was shot in the face, allegedly by her husband, apparently in a family dispute.

Mrs. Navreet Waraich, mother of a four month old son, was stabbed to death, allegedly by her husband, in a family dispute.

The role of violence in these situations is undeniable and tragic.

Newcomers to Canada face many challenges, but domestic violence and fearing for one's own safety should not be among them. There is no place for domestic violence in Canada.

Before more lives are lost, all that needs to be done must be done. Members of the official opposition should stop digging in their heels and allow the new Conservative government to make tougher and effective laws. It is already 13 years too late. Perhaps some lives could have been saved.

Community Support for Young AdultsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Vivian Barbot Bloc Papineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to commend the exceptional work of Héberjeune, a community organization in my riding. I wish to congratulate the members of that organization for the honourable mention they received from Quebec's health and social services network in the 2005-06 “support for vulnerable groups and individuals” category.

Héberjeune de Parc Extension, in Montreal, provides temporary accommodation to young adults between 18 and 25 who are in need of help.

It also sponsors a social support program for young people trying to put an end to their isolation by becoming involved in their community, whether by finishing their studies or finding a job, in short, by assuming responsibility for themselves.

Day in and day out, Héberjeune helps young people take control of and change their lives, thus helping change the world in a lasting way.

Firearms RegistryStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Jay Hill Conservative Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, this week a report by the public accounts committee delivered a scathing indictment of former Liberal public safety minister Anne McLellan and the billion dollar Liberal gun registry boondoggle.

The committee confirms that the former Liberal minister knew her department was using unscrupulous accounting methods to avoid seeking parliamentary approval for increased funding for their gun registry. The all party report reads:

--the principal public servants in this matter, all indicated that the minister was aware of this problem. Regardless, evidence suggests that the minister knew, and she did nothing to ensure that Parliament was fully informed and for that she must accept responsibility.

For years Liberals denied any wrongdoing for the gross mismanagement of their gun registry. They instead chose to vilify public servants.

Now we know what happened. Liberals kept Parliament and Canadians in the dark about the increasing costs of their gun registry. The Liberal Party owes Canadians an apology.

Citizenship and ImmigrationStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Gurbax Malhi Liberal Bramalea—Gore—Malton, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canada has a backlog of 800,000 immigrants trying to get into our country. The immigration minister has admitted that a backlog of 800,000 is too much, but he has no plan to fix the system.

These are skilled and educated workers who are trying to enter Canada to provide better lives for themselves and their families. The minister has done nothing to shorten processing times, extend visas to families or increase the sponsorship of families. We need to speed up the sponsorship of families and we need to reunite families faster.

Families are separated for four or five years while trying to get into Canada. The reunification of families takes too long. Waiting up to five years for parents to reunite with their families is a hardship. People are suffering under the current system.

HealthStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Luc Harvey Conservative Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, rising obesity rates and decreasing physical activity, particularly in children, represent major public health challenges our country will have to face in the coming decades. Parents, health organizations, schools and governments all have a part to play in this matter.

This is why our government is determined to show leadership and take decisive action to solve this problem.

The children's fitness tax credit will promote greater participation in sports programs and physical activities, and will help parents with the ever-increasing costs associated with such activities.

I would like to thank the members of the expert panel, Doctor Kellie Leitch, Michael Weil and David Basset, who took the time to consult Canadians and put together some recommendations on programs that should be eligible for the tax credit.

I am delighted to be working, not with a team that is perpetually doomed to ask questions, but rather with a team that is able to announce concrete measures that will benefit Canadians.

Paper Mill ClosuresStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Tony Martin NDP Sault Ste. Marie, ON

Mr. Speaker, northern Ontario communities are being devastated by mill closures, with no help from federal and provincial governments.

The latest mill in danger is St. Marys Paper in Sault Ste. Marie, which has filed for bankruptcy protection. Unless governments act, 400 employees of St. Marys will join what the Forestry Coalition says is 25,000 other northerners who have already lost their jobs.

Provincially, it is the Liberals' disastrous hydro policies harming the mills. The federal government, formerly under the Liberals and currently under the Conservatives, does not have a plan to respond to the over 200,000 manufacturing jobs lost in Ontario and Quebec.

We need a jobs first economic strategy. We need stronger sector councils and a partnership approach. And when restructuring happens, we must ensure that hard-earned pensions are not on the bargaining table. Retirees depend on their pensions. They are deferred wages of hard-working employees.

Stop killing an--

Paper Mill ClosuresStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Cardigan.

Al-Anon Family GroupsStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay Liberal Cardigan, PE

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour for me to rise today to congratulate Al-Anon Family Groups on their 55th anniversary and to acknowledge their important contribution to Canadian communities.

For over half a century, Al-Anon and Alateen have been a key source of support and hope for families and friends of alcoholics all over the world, with over 25,000 groups in 131 different countries and 1,400 local meetings across Canada.

We owe this wonderful organization and all its members our continued support and gratitude for 55 years of dedicated service.

This special occasion is being marked by a luncheon celebration here in Ottawa tomorrow in partnership with the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse.

Roy DupuisStatements By Members

November 1st, 2006 / 2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Maka Kotto Bloc Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, the 19th Tokyo international film festival recently rolled out the red carpet for Maurice Richard. Art and style won over the jury, which awarded the best actor prize to Roy Dupuis for his portrayal of the Rocket.

Although he shuns the spotlight, Roy Dupuis is a mythic and popular Quebec actor with animal charisma, combining pure talent with subtlety in performances in such films as Nikita, Séraphin: Heart of Stone and Mémoires affectives, also known as Looking for Alexander.

I know the accomplished work, the professionalism and the humility of this committed artist who has put his all into every production he has been involved in. I am delighted to join with my Bloc Québécois colleagues in applauding him and thanking him for so brilliantly representing the creative genius of the Quebec film industry we are defending here, against the Conservative government, which has chosen to jeopardize its continued success.

Captain Nichola Goddard ScholarshipStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Liberal Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, this week the Canadian Islamic Congress awarded its first ever Captain Nichola Goddard Scholarship in Peace and Conflict Studies. This honour was awarded to Ahmad Syed, a graduate student at the University of Ottawa, who is concentrating his studies on conflict resolution and conflict avoidance.

On May 17, 2006, Captain Nichola Goddard died in combat during fighting in the Panjwai district of Khandahar province while serving as a forward observation officer with the 1st Regiment of the Royal Canadian Horse Artillery.

Captain Goddard was the 17th Canadian to be killed in Afghanistan since 2002 and the first woman to be killed in combat in Canadian military history.

The Captain's father, Dr. Tim Goddard, said:

I believe that this work will help further the hopes and dreams held by Nichola, that peaceful resolution of conflict can be achieved and thus prepare the way for the reconstruction of civil society and the establishment of stable nation states.

Federal Accountability ActStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, today, the Federal Accountability Act has for 133 days been in the hands of the Liberal senators, who are unduly delaying its adoption. Today is also the first anniversary of the Gomery report, which revealed that the Liberal Party had stolen millions of dollars from Canadian taxpayers.

Despite the 441 questions the Bloc Québécois asked, that party was unable to put an end to the Liberal culture of entitlement. Only the new Conservative government could react quickly to the Gomery report by introducing the toughest anti-corruption legislation in Canadian history: the federal accountability act.

The Liberals have chosen to delay passing the bill in order to again protect their own interests and those of their party. We wonder who is working behind the scenes to unduly delay passage of the Federal Accountability Act.

Income TrustsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, in his election platform, the Prime Minister stated, “A Conservative government will preserve income trusts by not imposing any new taxes”.

Canadians who voted for the Prime Minister did so based on a deception. What is equally concerning, they invested their life savings based on a false promise. Today, thanks to his misrepresentation, Canadians are about $25 billion poorer.

Everything the Prime Minister will tell the House today about the impact of income trusts on government revenues he knew when he made that promise. Why did he engage in a deception of such monumental and costly proportions to all Canadians?

Income TrustsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, let us be absolutely clear. The commitment of this party was not that we would have no taxes for Telus. It was not that we would have no taxes for BCE. It was not that we would have no taxes for foreign investors, or no taxes for major corporations. It was a commitment to protect the income of seniors.

The Minister of Finance has brought in an age credit. He has brought in pension splitting. He is imposing fair taxes on the corporate community. I challenge the Liberal Party to support those things.

Income TrustsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, that is not what he said in the election. He assured them that income trusts were essential for those who had spent their lives raising families, saving for their retirement and building our country.

Innocent Canadians are suffering an economic bloodbath today because they believed the Prime Minister. He gave his word. Canadians acted on his word. He then broke his word. He knew then what he knows now and he has no excuse.

How can he explain to Canadians the colossal misrepresentation he made in the last election? How can he justify to Canadian citizens his $25 billion breach of faith to Canadians?

Income TrustsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, contrary to what the Leader of the Opposition says, lots has changed with income trusts in the past year, including tax holidays for major corporations, which this government does not and will not support.

The Minister of Finance has acted decisively and he has acted with integrity, unlike, I should mention, the previous government. Let me quote a prominent Liberal, Warren Kinsella, who says--

Income TrustsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Income TrustsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order, please. The Prime Minister is giving his answer. We have to be able to hear his answer and the quotations. The right hon. Prime Minister has the floor. We will have a little order.

Income TrustsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

Stephen Harper Conservative Calgary Southwest, AB

The quote, Mr. Speaker, is, “Now, if [the member for Wascana] had still been in charge, we might have heard about this from our brokers on the weekend, just like in the good old days”.