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House of Commons Hansard #91 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was deal.

Topics

Ian RobertsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Betty Hinton Conservative Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today with a heavy heart to inform the House of the passing of Ian Roberts. Ian was my riding office assistant. His short battle with cancer ended peacefully a few short days ago.

Ian touched the lives and hearts of numerous constituents. He leaves behind a legacy of hope and honour to those of us who were his teammates.

This teddy bear in the form of a man always had a smile in his voice, a hug for those who needed it and a determination in his heart to leave this world in better condition than he found it. We are all better off for his time among us.

Ian and his wife, Kathy, have given their time generously to support the less fortunate, prevent teenage suicide and to raise thousands of dollars for cancer research. It was a privilege to know him and an honour to work with him. The gift of his friendship and support cannot be measured.

If he is listening today, and I am judged worthy, I ask him to do what he has done so often in our time together: save me a seat right next to him until we meet again.

The Dorion TragedyStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Meili Faille Bloc Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, October 7, 1966, was a black day for the people in my riding of Vaudreuil-Soulanges. That day, a busload of adolescents was hit at a level crossing by a freight train travelling at high speed. The result: 19 dead and 26 injured. Forty years after the tragedy, the exact cause of this accident is not known.

How did the survivors cope? That is the topic of Francine Tougas' documentary, Survivre, presented on November 25 on Télé-Québec.

The memory of this terrible event forces us to remember the importance of rail safety, particularly at level crossings. The federal government must take action. The Municipality of Terrasse-Vaudreuil has been asking for too long for changes to a level crossing similar to the one where the Dorion tragedy took place.

Let us take advantage of National Safe Driving Week to remember this tragic accident and step up calls to modify this level crossing.

Sir Frederick BantingStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Helena Guergis Conservative Simcoe—Grey, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to bring attention to an issue of great importance to the residents of Simcoe--Grey, the people of Canada and the world.

Alliston-born Sir Frederick Banting was a remarkable man who dedicated his life to medicine. His work saved millions of people's lives when his research led to the discovery of insulin. His hard work and devotion won the highest medical accolade.

However, today, the memory and legacy of Sir Frederick Banting is being threatened.

The Ontario Historical Society received the Banting homestead and its 100 acres in 1999 for $1, with the understanding it would maintain and preserve the property. However, it has betrayed this agreement. Not only has the homestead deteriorated, the Ontario Historical Society has decided to sell the land to developers, which will demolish the homestead and squash a diabetes camp.

My colleague, the member for Perth—Wellington, and I call on the Ontario Historical Society and Premier McGuinty to do the right thing, stop this sale and pass Jim Wilson's private member's bill to preserve the legacy of Sir Banting.

HealthStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett Liberal St. Paul's, ON

Mr. Speaker, immunization is our safest, longest lasting and most effective means of preventing infectious diseases and subsequent complications.

Every year in Canada 5,000 Canadians can die of influenza and its complications.

The flu shot is only one of many important vaccinations. Through joint funding by all jurisdictions, children across Canada have access to universal programs for 14 vaccines. We need the health minister to reassure the provinces that existing funding for the immunization strategy will continue and additional funding will be available as new vaccines are recommended by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization.

The House of Commons is providing flu shots today until four o'clock in room 238-S. I encourage all members to go and roll up their sleeves, and remember to wash their hands. I just wish there were a shot against right-wing Republican ideology.

Bloc QuébécoisStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Jacques Gourde Conservative Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière, QC

Mr. Speaker, after 16 years in Ottawa in eternal opposition, the Bloc's record is pretty dismal, especially compared to the achievements of this Conservative government. Since 1990, the Bloc has only two private members' bills to its credit and they were to change the name of two ridings. That is the Bloc's only record in Ottawa. Are those the priorities of Quebeckers? No.

Far from being in power, the Bloc only fuels the parliamentary cycle by asking questions. With all due respect to this institution, the work of a federal member of Parliament involves more than that.

All the members in this House, except the Bloc members, want to make decisions for their constituents, but the Bloc could never, and I mean never, make a single decision in Ottawa.

That is why Quebeckers have to elect more Conservative members who will not just defend the interests of Quebec in Ottawa, but will get real, tangible and concrete results serving those interests. In Ottawa, Quebec deserves better than a powerless opposition party.

ImmigrationStatements By Members

December 5th, 2006 / 2:10 p.m.

NDP

Alex Atamanenko NDP British Columbia Southern Interior, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to once again plead the case of German Melgar and Santos Molina who currently live and work in Oliver, B.C. in my riding.

We have recently learned that their application to stay in Canada, based on humanitarian and compassionate grounds, has been refused. They are scheduled to be returned to El Salvador once their youngest child of seven months obtains her passport.

To their credit, the staff at Citizenship and Immigration have been working closely with this family to find another solution so that they will be able to obtain permanent residence status in Canada.

However, Mr. Melgar and Ms. Molina have expressed concern for their safety should they be forced to return to El Salvador at this time. Let us not forget that Mr. Melgar's father was executed in his home because of his political beliefs and Mr. Melgar has himself received threats of personal violence.

I implore the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to do everything in his power to ensure that this family is not forced to return to El Salvador while their fate in Canada is being decided. He alone has the power to change their fate.

VolunteerismStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Stephen Owen Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, on this International Volunteer Day, I rise to commend all volunteers committed to making a difference in Canada and around the world.

Thirty years ago Canadian University Services Overseas, or CUSO, sent my wife and I to Nigeria where we worked alongside Nigerians for two years, sharing knowledge and skills with each other, building relationships, and supporting community development through education. The experience helped shape our lives and our understanding of the world, and the key role of international development.

With the global crises in AIDS, poverty and environmental degradation, the need for greater international cooperation is clear. Yet, $20 million in shortsighted and ideological cuts by the new Conservative minority government have led to the demise of the Canadian volunteerism initiative and the international youth internship program. Shame.

World Volunteer DayStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, today is World Volunteer Day. Over two million volunteers in Quebec work for the well being of their fellow citizens. Every year they put in over 308 million hours for causes that are important to them.

We do not speak enough about the people who donate their time to organizations involved in recreational, health, safety, political, charitable and other activities.

The Conservative government did not understand the impact of volunteer work in our society when it cut the Canada volunteerism initiative on September 25.

On behalf of the Bloc Québécois, I want to thank all the volunteers in Quebec for their dedication to their community. I am calling on this government to reinvest this money for the well being of our volunteers.

Aboriginal AffairsStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Tina Keeper Liberal Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, if one first nation facing an epidemic of tuberculosis in my riding of Churchill was not unfortunate enough, we now have a second confirmed epidemic in the community of Lac Brochet, Manitoba.

Chief Joe Danttouze recently stated that overcrowded housing, mould and poor living conditions have led to a dramatic increase in TB. Due to the lack of access to adequate health care, individuals in Lac Brochet went undiagnosed for such a lengthy period of time that the TB has travelled to the brain.

This is a clear indication that we have a serious crisis on our hands and is, in effect, putting Canadians, notably first nations Canadians, at high risk.

Chief Danttouze has stated that the response by government has been inadequate. This is absolutely shameful and unacceptable. How many more communities in my riding need to declare a TB outbreak and epidemic before the Conservative government decides it will start taking action?

Liberal Party of CanadaStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

James Bezan Conservative Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, Liberals are getting over their hangover from last weekend and Canadians are bewildered by their decision. The Liberals soundly rejected the ideas of renewal, innovative thinking and women in leadership. Instead, they picked a leader that the majority of the Liberal caucus rejected and over 82% of delegates did not even consider as their first choice.

Liberals decided they wanted someone who sat at the cabinet table while they squandered billions of dollars on the ineffective gun registry, stuffed cash into brown envelopes during ad scam, and misplaced a billion bucks in the HRDC boondoggle.

However, the new Liberal leader campaigned on cleaning up the environment rather than the ethically challenged Liberal Party, and now has to defend his weak performance as the previous environment minister.

In her last report, the environment commissioner condemned the Liberal record of inaction and failure. The new leader presided over a 35% increase in greenhouse gas emissions. Canada's air quality dropped to 27th out of 29 nations in the OECD. The commissioner concluded the Liberal government was “not up to the task” of managing climate change.

I guess when it comes to the Liberals, it is back to the future, in a dithering kind of way.

Maher Arar InquiryOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Arar affair is a human tragedy. A Canadian citizen suffered in a foreign prison and we are still waiting for the government to apologize.

Today, we know that the RCMP commissioner misled this House about this sad affair. It would therefore be unthinkable for the Prime Minister to continue to trust the commissioner.

Will he do the only thing that makes sense and dismiss Mr. Zaccardelli?

Maher Arar InquiryOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I know that the Liberal Party does not like the RCMP, but obviously, this government has a different perspective.

We have received Justice O'Connor's report. We have accepted its conclusions and plan to act on them.

As for the RCMP commissioner, this government is somewhat surprised by and concerned about his testimony today. We will examine that testimony.

Maher Arar InquiryOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, if the Prime Minister is so committed to the RCMP, he should do the right thing right now. This is no longer simply an issue of confidence in an official. We know that the commissioner discussed his testimony with the Minister of Public Safety last September, but what we need to know is what role the minister has played in the matter.

When did the minister become aware that the commissioner was changing his story? What role did the minister play in the decision to change the story?

Maher Arar InquiryOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as I just said, the government is as surprised and concerned by the change of story in the testimony today. This government will examine the facts and will respond in a manner that is objective, professional and dispassionate. It will be done with full regard to due process.

I have to tell the member opposite that the animus of the Liberal Party toward the RCMP and the commissioner is well known. That will not influence the government. The government will handle this correctly. I point out that the events in question and what happened to Mr. Arar happened under the previous government.

Maher Arar InquiryOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I will not remind the Prime Minister what he said at that time about the Arar affair when he was in opposition.

Why does the Prime Minister continue to protect his minister? Maybe the minister will tell us what he knew when he learned about the change in the story. He was briefed by the commissioner last September before his testimony. What has been said? What role did the minister play? Canadians need to know.

Maher Arar InquiryOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, as with most Canadians, and in fact those of us here in Parliament, the apparent contradiction in what the commissioner said was made plain to all of us yesterday when he addressed the matter in a public speech.

Maher Arar InquiryOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Liberal Ajax—Pickering, ON

Mr. Speaker, on September 28, in response to a question I posed in committee, the Minister of Public Safety was crystal clear. He said that he, his caucus and the Prime Minister stood unconditionally behind Commissioner Zaccardelli. There was not a single hesitation, not a single caveat.

Even after all the contradictions mounted up and despite Justice O'Connor's damning report, the Prime Minister and the minister just sat on their hands. While we demanded answers, they did nothing. Why? What was their motive? Why were they so bound and determined to protect the commissioner against all evidence?

Maher Arar InquiryOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, first of all, within 24 hours of receipt of Justice O'Connor's report, we accepted all 23 recommendations of that report. These were largely areas that for two to three years were absolutely not dealt with by the previous Liberal government. It refused to act on any of these recommendations. We acted immediately and we are going to continue to follow through on all of those recommendations.

Maher Arar InquiryOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Liberal Ajax—Pickering, ON

Mr. Speaker, it was this party, when we were in government, that started the Arar inquiry. It was this party that said that we had to get to the bottom of it. It is that party on the opposite side that is obfuscating, stonewalling and refusing to take action with respect to Mr. Zaccardelli.

Today in committee the commissioner confirmed that he had to get permission from the minister before he could testify, that the commissioner needed the minister's approval before he could “give evidence or speak”. However, on September 28 the minister denied any such involvement and any such interference.

Now we learn the minister was a gatekeeper. He chose what information could and could not be released. Why?

Maher Arar InquiryOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, I watched the member opposite in committee for a few minutes this morning. He posed that exact question and the question was answered very clearly. I had no involvement in terms of any instruction whatsoever to the commissioner. Right after that was said, the member acted as if nothing had been presented. I would suggest that he abandon his Perry Mason on steroids routine and just stick to the truth.

Maher Arar InquiryOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister says today that he is surprised at the new version of Commissioner Zaccardelli's story. But yesterday, the Minister of Public Safety said that he had full confidence in Commissioner Zaccardelli, having heard the new version of his story at a public press conference or a conference at the press club. The government had received the text of Mr. Zaccardelli's speech.

How could the Conservative government state yesterday that it had full confidence in Commissioner Zaccardelli and then say today that it is surprised? The government knew yesterday what the commissioner had said. How could it maintain its confidence?

Maher Arar InquiryOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, that is exactly what I said. Yesterday, we discovered, along with everyone else, that there was a contradiction in the commissioner's testimony. That is why he appeared before the committee today. We are going to look at all the testimony and make our decision in a professional manner.

Maher Arar InquiryOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, could the Prime Minister stand up in a professional manner and simply decide to thank Commissioner Zaccardelli for his services and demand his resignation, because he changed his story and the government had full knowledge of the new version? He says he is surprised today, but yesterday he knew exactly what the commissioner was going to say.

Maher Arar InquiryOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the leader of the Bloc Québécois admits that there was apparently a change in Commissioner Zaccardelli's story.

Clearly, the government has the responsibility to look at all the facts before taking action, and that is what it will do.

Maher Arar InquiryOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Ménard Bloc Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Mr. Speaker, we must look beyond these contradictions. The confidence that this government has maintained in the RCMP commissioner is incomprehensible and unfathomable. That individual changed his version of the facts as he saw fit and was contradicted by three former solicitors general.

Why has the Minister of Public Safety maintained his confidence in Mr. Zaccardelli, despite the seriousness of the negligence revealed during his first testimony?