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House of Commons Hansard #83 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was deal.

Topics

Aboriginals AffairsStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Marc Lemay Bloc Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, today is the 10th anniversary of the tabling of the report by the Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, the Erasmus-Dussault report.

It has been a decade already since important recommendations to establish a justice-based relationship between aboriginals and non-aboriginals were made public. Unfortunately, since then they have been set aside by the successive governments here in Ottawa.

It took five years of work and consultations to produce a report of more than 4,000 pages with 400 recommendations. The report proposed a 20-year program of concrete solutions to problems that are difficult to solve.

The Bloc Québécois strongly believes that aboriginals have to be able to function again as a nation. I call on the government to show some respect for the first nations by going back to the Erasmus-Dussault report and implementing its key recommendations.

Prevention of GenocideStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Harold Albrecht Conservative Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour of introducing an All Party Parliamentary Group for the Prevention of Genocide and other Crimes Against Humanity.

Unfortunately, this issue continues to plague mankind even today.

I am proud to serve on the interim executive of the group. The group aims to bring information to parliamentarians of all political parties and provide an opportunity to discuss ways of preventing these horrors from occurring.

I urge all members of the House to attend a special reception tonight in the parliamentary restaurant, where they can meet Mr. Juan Mendez. Mr. Mendez is the United Nations Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide. We are honoured to have him join us today.

Crimes against humanity do not recognize partisanship. I would urge members of all parties to attend tonight, meet Mr. Mendez and learn more about what role they can play.

Government PoliciesStatements by Members

November 21st, 2006 / 2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, we can say two things about the recent Conservative cuts to programs. First, they are dumb, and second, they are mean, particularly the cuts to the summer career placement program, an initiative that has employed hundreds of thousands of students and has provided huge benefits to organizations working toward the betterment of our communities.

In my community, these grants support child care centres, boys and girls clubs and youth recreation and help charities, seniors and other groups. Every one of those groups is a non-profit organization.

The government's announcement of cuts to this program is indefensible. No one has been given a coherent explanation for why the federal government, awash in money, would make these cuts.

Any cut to student employment is very troubling. I spend a lot of time with student leaders at our universities and colleges and with not for profit organizations trying to build a better Canada. At a time of increased tuition, a summer job is critical to making it to university and college. These unnecessary cuts mean that students will miss out on the opportunity to attend college or university and they also will hurt communities.

These cuts are a lose-lose proposition. They are ill conceived and damaging, both to students and our communities, and they must be reversed.

Donald VézinaStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Steven Blaney Conservative Lévis—Bellechasse, QC

Mr. Speaker, during a large and moving family celebration in Saint-Michel-de-Bellechasse on November 11, I had the honour of awarding the Canadian Peacekeeping Service Medal to Donald Vézina.

Donald Vézina worked on a United Nations peacekeeping mission as a member of the 22nd Regiment. Mr. Vézina completed two tours of duty in Cyprus during Canada's 29-year mission, leaving behind his wife and children. He is the son of Léo-Dominique Vézina, a World War II aviator in the 425 Tactical Fighter Squadron, “Les Alouettes”, who gave his life for our country.

That same day, his sister, Sylvie, launched a book entitled Le dernier vol de l'Alouette in memory of their father. She was very young when her father died, and she retraced the epic story of this true Canadian hero by collecting stories from members of his family and consulting the National Archives of Canada.

Today, I would like to applaud the courage of the great Vézina family of Bellechasse that showed solidarity in the face of Canada's greatest military and humanitarian challenges and that reminds us that people from close to home gave their lives to protect our freedoms and our rights.

Musical CraftsmanshipStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Tony Martin NDP Sault Ste. Marie, ON

Mr. Speaker, Raymond Schryer of Sault Ste. Marie is a fine fiddle player and an internationally acclaimed violin maker.

Raymond has just returned from the biennial instrument making competition in Baltimore for the Violin Society of America, where he won two silver medals for violin and viola. He received the highest marks given for workmanship, competing with over 300 violins and viola entered from around the globe.

Raymond is passionate about violins and has turned his love for music into making some of the finest musical instruments in the world. The dream of designing his own workshop became a reality for Raymond when he renovated the town hall in Hilton Beach and subsequently a heritage building on the St. Mary's River in Sault Ste. Marie.

He has become a leader in his field, having been recognized with international gold medal wins. The pinnacle of his career to date is the gold medal win for cello in October 2003 in Italy.

I ask the House today to salute Raymond as a recognized leader and innovator in his field.

Prevention of GenocideStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Keith Martin Liberal Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to notify this House of the formation of an All Party Coalition for the Prevention of Genocide, composed of members from all parties and both Houses.

Its intent is to provide information to the House on existing and developing humanitarian catastrophes. To help inaugurate this, we have Juan Mendez, the special adviser to the Secretary-General of the UN, here in Ottawa today.

The necessity for this group is the fact that the world has not learned the hard lessons from Rwanda and the Holocaust. Today the carnage in Darfur continues in unimaginable ways. In eastern Congo, 20,000 people a month are dying of preventable causes. In northern Uganda, the Acholi people have been herded, and they are being asphyxiated of their basic needs.

Catastrophes are occurring. The Prime Minister said he would not allow these catastrophes to occur on his watch. We ask the Prime Minister to act now, act quickly and save lives.

Pierre GemayelStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Maria Mourani Bloc Ahuntsic, QC

Mr. Speaker, we recently learned of the assassination of Lebanese cabinet minister Pierre Gemayel. The son of Amin Gemayel—former Lebanese president—and the nephew of Bashir Gemayel, who was also assassinated, Pierre Gemayel was elected in 2000 and again in 2005. He became Minister of Industry in July 2005.

Pierre Gemayel participated in the Cedar Revolution following the assassination of Rafik Hariri. Since then he and other Lebanese parliamentarians have fought fiercely for their country's sovereignty.

The Bloc Québécois condemns this terrible act and urges the Canadian government to support Lebanese authorities in advancing the Lebanese national dialogue.

This assassination is another assault on Lebanon's fragile peace and democracy.

The Bloc Québécois offers its condolences to the Lebanese community, the Phalange party and the Lebanese diaspora. He will be missed.

George BlackburnStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Nepean—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today, humbled, saddened and honoured, to speak of George Blackburn, a retired World War II veteran, artillery officer, Military Cross winner, dedicated public servant, reporter, author, director, and loving husband, father, grandfather and even great-grandfather. This great Canadian passed away peacefully in his 90th year last week right here in Ottawa.

Mr. Blackburn was born in the town of Wales, Ontario, a village cleared to make way for the St. Lawrence Seaway. The project was commemorated in one of his musical plays, A Day to Remember.

He was best known publicly for his World War II book trilogy, The Guns of Normandy, which brought him the 1996 Ottawa Citizen Book of the Year Award.

He will be remembered. We extend to him all the honour of this House. May God bless his soul.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, 18 years ago, you and other members were elected to the House of Commons. We congratulate you and we congratulate our colleagues of that class. I myself missed that class by 60 votes. It was a little bit like one of your privilege motions, Mr. Speaker; we never know which way it is going to go until it is too late. We are glad that you are here and we congratulate you and the other members of the House.

Mr. Speaker, when the Prime Minister travels the world on our behalf, Canadians have the right to know what is going on. Citizens have the right to be informed by a free press, but the Prime Minister tries to manipulate the press. On his trip to Asia he deliberately kept the press in the dark unless it suited his purposes. He refused to tell the press about meetings and actions.

How can the Prime Minister be so boastful about lecturing China and the world on human rights when he plays games with the right of Canadian citizens to be fully informed by our free press?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, let me share my congratulations as well with you on the 18th anniversary of your election. I was also unsuccessful in that particular election; I am glad we find something we can agree on.

Of course when I travelled there were various formal meetings that I had. There were photo ops before those formal meetings, meetings with the press before those. I gave a press conference at the end of the meetings and of course I also informed the press about any informal meetings that took place.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate the Prime Minister on his photo op. He was spectacular in that gown he was wearing.

The Prime Minister's mania for secrecy and control is undermining our country's conduct of international affairs. It is not just the press the Prime Minister tries to keep in the dark. It is his own Minister of Foreign Affairs who said yesterday that the Prime Minister received a promise from China that Mr. Celil would not be executed, but later the minister was contradicted by his own staff. Any commitment was given seven months ago by Uzbekistan.

Why is the Prime Minister seeking to keep his own foreign affairs minister as much out of the loop as he tries to keep our citizens and the press? What exactly did the Prime Minister achieve for Mr. Celil and Canadians?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I think the Minister of Foreign Affairs has addressed the assurances that we have been given by the government of China. The position of this party and this government, which is certainly different from the last one, is that when we deal with countries around the world, and important countries like China, not only do we pursue our own economic and trade interests, but we also pursue human rights and the democracy agenda, particularly where the interests of Canadian citizens are affected. We will not back down on that.

I can add in terms of photo ops that there is a tradition at APEC to do pictures in traditional garb. Unlike the Leader of the Opposition, I had to wear the silk on the outside.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I can assure the Prime Minister that I have just as many embarrassing pictures of myself as they do on that side.

Everyone agrees. This government gave a pitiful performance in Asia. It confused Canadians. It contradicted itself. All because this Prime Minister is trying to manipulate the press.

I have specific, clear questions that I want the Prime Minister to answer for this House. Where is Mr. Celil being held? What are the charges against him? Has the Prime Minister received additional assurances as to Mr. Celil's safety and when Mr. Celil will be coming back to Canada?

Canadians do not need tall tales from the Prime Minister, they want answers—

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The right hon. Prime Minister.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I will say again that we do not discuss individual cases in the House of Commons.

When I travel and meet with leaders of other countries, I discuss not only major economic issues, but also important human rights issues. This is completely different from the Liberal Party, which denied a motion in the House of Commons to express our concern about human rights in China.

Also I can say in regard to my well-known agenda to control the press, I will work closely with the Leader of the Opposition to keep those photos of him out of the media.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard Liberal Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of the Environment is following her Prime Minister's example. When she travels abroad, she also does not recognize that Canadians have the right to be informed by a free, democratic press.

In Nairobi, the minister was the only spokesperson authorized to speak to the media, but she consistently refused requests for interviews.

Why is the Minister of the Environment intentionally avoiding the media? Has the Prime Minister ordered her to do so? What does she have to hide from Canadians?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Edmonton—Spruce Grove Alberta

Conservative

Rona Ambrose ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, let me clear. I did many, many interviews both by phone and in person and held a number of scrums. My job there was to engage in important bilateral meetings with other countries and I held several of those. I also, as the minister, was involved in intensive negotiations with a number of other ministers on key issues to make sure that we could secure a good agreement for Canada so that we could actually agree with the international community, reach a consensus and be able to tell Canadians that we could come back supporting the agreement that we did reach.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard Liberal Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government has abandoned Kyoto, despite what the Minister of the Environment says.

We now have e-mails confirming that Conservative ministers have ordered officials to remove all reference to Kyoto from government websites and to dismantle the climate change site.

How can the minister parade around Canada and abroad saying that she supports Kyoto? Does she really think Canadians will take her seriously?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Edmonton—Spruce Grove Alberta

Conservative

Rona Ambrose ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I encourage the member to look on the Environment Canada website. She will find a link to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change as well as a link directly to the Kyoto protocol. Again, our job is to negotiate a good framework for Canada, which is what we were able to do. We secured increased accountability on the international programs we were concerned about.

We also secured a complete review of the Kyoto protocol which was something our government wanted. We also led the negotiations to include other countries and to force other countries to consider taking on new targets, which is something our government has always said is necessary so that we can actually have a real, effective international agreement.

TaxationOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, in the last budget, in a section called “Restoring Fiscal Balance in Canada”, the government declared it would go ahead with proposals aimed at correcting the fiscal imbalance by fall. Yet it is now almost winter and the government has not made any proposals or moved this matter forward in any way.

Will the Prime Minister take the opportunity of the November 23 economic statement to announce concrete measures to correct the fiscal imbalance?

TaxationOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, in the last budget, this government increased transfer payments to the provinces and we will take further action in the next budget.

TaxationOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thought I was listening to the previous prime minister, who used to say the same thing. The leader of the opposition at the time, who is now Prime Minister, criticized responses like the one he just gave me.

He promised Quebec he would correct the fiscal imbalance, knowing very well that there were differences between the provinces. He did not say, “If there is consensus, I will agree”. That is easy. He has some decisions to make.

I ask him this: Will he announce concrete measures, and by that I mean to the tune of $3.9 billion, in the economic statement?

TaxationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, regarding the sum mentioned by the leader of the Bloc Québécois, I would like to quote Robert Gagné, co-chair of the Council of the Federation Advisory Panel on the Fiscal Imbalance, who said, “The statements made by Mr. Boisclair and the leader of the Bloc Québécois do not result from a different interpretation of our conclusions but rather from a more than dubious manipulation of certain data in our report. By manipulating the data in our report in this way, Mr. Boisclair and the leader of the Bloc Québécois are misleading the public and trying to foster unrealistic expectations that have no basis in fact”.

TaxationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, if anyone is manipulating, it is people like the Prime Minister; he does not want to keep his promise, because he was very well aware of the extent of the fiscal imbalance when he made the formal commitment in Quebec City, in the middle of the election campaign, to solve it once and for all.

Now that he has a substantial surplus and our proposals that some order be restored to the federal government have secured him an additional $15 billion over three years manoeuvring room, what is the Prime Minister waiting for, to honour his commitment to Quebec and put the $3.9 billion per year that is needed into solving the fiscal imbalance?

TaxationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, we have to remember that the Bloc Québécois soap opera is still going on. It was discredited earlier by an economist, and then by the Quebec Minister of Finance, and it had to appeal to its big brother again, Jacques Léonard, who, it will be recalled, was incapable of controlling expenditures in Quebec.

Who is telling the truth?