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House of Commons Hansard #82 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was senate.

Topics

National Child DayStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Tina Keeper Liberal Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, today the world is celebrating the adoption by the United Nations of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The theme of this year's National Child Day is the “Right to be Heard”.

It is a shameful fact that no group of young people in Canada faces a greater gap in life chances than aboriginal children. Last year's Kelowna accord targeted $5 billion over five years to close the gap between aboriginal peoples and other Canadians in areas such as education, health, housing and economic opportunities. Yet the minority Conservative government cancelled the $5.1 billion accord.

Canada's aboriginal children deserve better. All of us in the House must make Canada a nation that listens to the needs of our aboriginal children and youth. It is their right to be heard.

UNESCOStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, last week Canada hosted the Organization of American States' inter-American meeting on culture in Montreal.

The Minister of Canadian Heritage took advantage of the opportunity to reiterate the commitment of Canada's new government to promoting the ratification of the UNESCO Convention on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.

Together with the Government of Quebec's minister of culture and communications, Canada's new government held bilateral meetings with representatives of OAS member states.

Since coming to power, the new government has given Quebec a seat at UNESCO and continues to work with Quebec on the world stage.

For years, the Bloc asked for a Quebec delegation to UNESCO, but to no avail. Their little Liberal friends refused. Only our government had the will to act in Quebec's interest.

That is what we mean when we say open federalism. I am proud that Canada's new government is taking every opportunity to promote ratification of the convention—

UNESCOStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I apologize for interrupting the hon. member, but it is time to begin oral question period.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, it is hard to believe, but this government managed to embarrass Canada on three continents at the same time.

First, the Prime Minister cancelled on a summit in Europe for fear of being criticized. Then, in Asia, he made a laughingstock of himself in connection with his meeting with the president of China. Furthermore, in Africa, instead of moving forward on a file that is so important to Canada, the Minister of the Environment gave the worst performance and was criticized by her international counterparts.

Can the Prime Minister explain how he could do so much to tarnish Canada's reputation in just two weeks?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we are extremely proud of our Prime Minister's approach internationaly.

Our country has a leader who went ahead and defended Canadian interests and values on the international scene. We have an environment minister who spoke the truth to the rest of the world, while the Liberals lied to the international community about environmental policy. We have an honest government with principles when it comes to international policy.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, as the parliamentary secretary's response clearly indicated, the government's foreign policy is dangerously driven by preconceptions, deceptions, self-delusions and arrogance.

The Prime Minister tries to pretend that a brief meeting with the President of China on the way into dinner was a historical event, but the Chinese news agency put it at the bottom of a story about President Hu's meeting with the leader of Papua New Guinea.

The Prime Minister promised specifically to intervene on behalf of a Canadian being held in China. He told us that he knew how to deal with the world's growing superpower.

If the Prime Minister's meeting was as great as he claims, could the parliamentary secretary tell us when Mr. Celil will be returned to Canada?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, would the Leader of the Opposition tell us why his party, before we broke, vetoed a motion in the House seeking the release of political prisoners in Canada, including Mr. Huseyincan Celil. Would he tell us why the Liberal Party has criticized the government for being willing to speak up on behalf of a Canadian citizen imprisoned abroad?

I will tell the House that Amnesty International, the Human Rights Watch, the Canadian Chinese National Congress, Mr. Celil's lawyer and the Uyghur Canadian Association have all applauded the courage and forthrightness of this Prime Minister.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I hope they do not applaud what the Prime Minister failed to achieve. Let us save the applause until we see some concrete results. In fact, the meeting failed to achieve anything.

The Prime Minister takes credit for a technology agreement with China but that agreement was signed last year by his Liberal predecessor, the member for LaSalle—Émard.

Why did the Prime Minister fail to obtain the foreign investment agreement with China that he was out there to get? Why did he fail to achieve the tourism agreement that he was supposed to get?

Since he is so boastful about his success, why did the Prime Minister score a big fat zero on human rights, foreign investment and tourism for the people of Canada and then boast about it?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I recall that 13 years of failed Liberal policy in that respect delivered a growing trade deficit, a shrinking export market share and no preferred designation status for Canada.

I will tell the House what Mr. Celil's lawyer said about this Prime Minister. He said, “I was very pleased to see the Prime Minister raise the case and stand up for Canada when they are being pushed around abroad”. This is what the Toronto Sun said, “As Canadians we should all feel pride and mutter silent alleluias that a Canadian Prime Minister is prepared to make a stand on behalf of us all”.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

November 20th, 2006 / 2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard Liberal Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, Canada is really paying the price for the Conservatives' amateurism on the international stage.

Canadians who believe in Kyoto hoped that the Minister of the Environment would take the opportunity in Nairobi to reassure them. Instead, she used an international forum to get even with those who do not share her views.

Does the minister realize that, with her partisan approach in Nairobi, she embarrassed Canadians and made us look bad on the international stage?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the difference between the Conservative government and the former Liberal government with respect to the Kyoto protocol is that we are honest with the world. The Liberals were dishonest. The Liberals lied to Canadians and to the world about their Kyoto protocol commitments when they said they intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. They increased them by 30%.

This government, the current government, is honest with the world when it says that the Liberals wrecked our environmental policy, and it is taking action to improve our environment.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard Liberal Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, last week in Nairobi, France commended the coherence of the former government's environmental policy and reserved special praise for Quebec's plan. For her part, the Minister of the Environment did nothing but paint a very negative picture of all the past actions in our country, all the efforts by individuals, NGOs, industries and the provinces.

Why is the minister so arrogant? Why is she so determined to isolate herself, instead of joining in the Canadian consensus?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, speaking of hypocrisy, I would like to quote this weekend's Globe and Mail.

An article in this past weekend's Globe and Mail, speaking to the Liberal policy and its criticism of this government's representation abroad in Kyoto, states:

It is the hypocrisy that is most distressing.

If only the former Liberal government had matched his unbecoming sanctimony with real accomplishments.

We will not deliver that kind of unbecoming sanctimony. We are honest with the world that the Liberals wrecked this country's commitment to the Kyoto accord. We are doing our best to make up for the lost ground under 13 years of Liberal inaction.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, at the climate change conference in Nairobi, the Government of Quebec asked for 45 seconds to outline its position. The federal government refused this modest request.

My question is as follows: why did it refuse given the Prime Minister's offer, the promise made in the election campaign, to give Quebec a special place on the international scene? Did this place, this promise, not warrant 45 seconds in Nairobi?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we should remember that it was this Prime Minister who, for the first time, signed an agreement with Quebec to ensure its representation at UNESCO.

In addition, the Minister of the Environment continues to work with her Quebec counterpart, the Quebec minister of the environment, to make progress on the environmental plan. The province of Quebec has a good environmental plan and we will work with it to obtain tangible results for all Canadians and Quebeckers.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, no matter what it says or does, the bottom line is that the federal promise was not worth 45 seconds.

Are we to understand that all the efforts of this government to hide Quebec's plan were made to avoid explaining to the international community why this government, which collects more than half of the taxes paid by Quebeckers, refuses to pay Quebec the $328 million that would enable it to reach all the targets of the Kyoto protocol?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the government works with all provinces on various issues, including the environment.

The Minister of the Environment has met with her Quebec counterpart several times. This is an important initiative. We must and we will collaborate with the provinces, including Quebec, to clean up the environment, something the Liberals did not do when they held office.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the federal government would very much like to present a positive image of its participation at the Nairobi conference, but that is impossible.

Can the Minister of the Environment admit that she kicked Quebec out of Nairobi so that she would not be forced to admit that the Kyoto protocol objectives are indeed attainable and that Quebec's plan proves it?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Langley B.C.

Conservative

Mark Warawa ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member well knows that the conference in Nairobi was a huge success. Canada is one of 165 countries that signed on to address greenhouse gas emissions past the 2012 reporting stage. I encourage the hon. member to work with the government and not try to sabotage our efforts.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, how can the federal government be satisfied with its performance in Nairobi when we know that Canada has won the most fossil awards at the conference, for example, the fossil award for hindering the negotiations and the fossil award for misleading the international community? It won at least six of these awards.

How can it be happy under these conditions?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Langley B.C.

Conservative

Mark Warawa ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, that Bloc member's behaviour in Nairobi was shocking and shameful. That member should be embarrassed for what he did. He owes Canadians an apology for trying to sabotage what Canada is trying to do.

We are in a crisis on the global environment. We need to work together on the environment. I am going to ask that member to stand up right now and apologize for his shameful behaviour in Nairobi.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government members now claim that the conference in Nairobi was a huge success. For whom? For Exxon Mobile? Is that whom they are talking about?

The fact of the matter is that Canadians looked on with enormous disappointment as the world was forced to tell our country, Canada, to get its act together. Kofi Annan said that there was a “frightening lack of leadership”. He was talking about countries like Canada.

What changes is the government ready to make to its approach, given that the world has called on Canada to get its act together, so we can have healthier air for our children?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, that question is typically ridiculous. The fact of the matter is that the world's major emitters do not belong to the Kyoto agreement. Many, if not most, of the signatories to that accord have not met their targets.

Our Minister of the Environment was simply honest in telling the world that, because of the previous government's 13 years of inaction, carbon emissions have risen by 30%, making it effectively impossible to reach our phase one targets, but that we are fully engaged in a plan to move forward in reducing those emissions and toward a meaningful phase two.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, in other words, the government is not prepared to change its direction, even though the entire world is asking Canada to do so and so are Canadians. I guess we got our answer there.

The world is teaching Canada a lesson. The President of France, Jacques Chirac, criticized Canada, deploring the terribly inadequate mobilization of countries like Canada, which are now going back on their commitment to the Kyoto protocol and not adhering to its provisions.

Why is the Prime Minister placing Canada among the ranks of environmental offenders on the world stage?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind the leader of the NDP that this government has been here for nine months and that Canada has been a signatory to the Kyoto protocol for nine years, nine years of inaction by the Liberal government.

We inherited this situation, but we take our responsibilities seriously. That is why the Minister of the Environment introduced a bill to give the government the ability to take action and improve our environment. We will work with all the opposition parties on this.