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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

Maher Arar InquiryOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, once again, the commissioner contradicted himself yesterday. This morning, he testified. Does my hon. colleague think it a good idea to take some sort of action one hour after the testimony? We are going to examine the response and make our decision in a professional manner.

Maher Arar InquiryOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Ménard Bloc Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Mr. Speaker, we must look back much further than just yesterday's contradictions. Commissioner Zaccardelli had admitted that he hid essential information from his predecessors in their political decision making. He let an innocent man rot in prison because of errors made by his agency, without informing the ministers.

Perhaps, deep down, the minister himself would have preferred to remain in blissful ignorance?

Maher Arar InquiryOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, when we received Justice O'Connor's report, we acted immediately by making 23 recommendations. We will continue in this fashion and make our decision in a professional manner, now that we have the commissioner's testimony.

Maher Arar InquiryOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, if the Prime Minister truly wanted to protect the reputation of the RCMP, he would be removing the commissioner immediately.

Maher Arar was brutally tortured in a Syrian prison and this government seems to have absolutely no interest in identifying and punishing those responsible for this sordid affair. The testimony of Mr. Zaccardelli is once again full of contradictions.

Why is the Prime Minister protecting Mr. Zaccardelli?

Maher Arar InquiryOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, once again, this government recognizes that Mr. Arar suffered a grave injustice. That is why the government accepted the report by Justice O'Connor. This government is negotiating a solution with Mr. Arar's lawyers.

I can say that the government has to be careful when it is in this position. When something is said at a parliamentary committee or something is said in a report, the government cannot just go out and fire people without due process. The previous government did that. The Liberals did that to Mr. Pelletier. They did it to several other people, Mr. Dingwall. We ended up paying huge amounts of money.

This government will--

Maher Arar InquiryOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Toronto—Danforth.

Maher Arar InquiryOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Zaccardelli's actions are damaging the reputation of the RCMP. The testimony today was incredible, but add the following: the Auditor General's report about $1.3 million stolen from the force pension fund; no action by the commissioner on the misuse of sponsorship funds; letting an officer off the hook after allegations of underage sex with a prostitute; the force's inadequate investigation of itself on the Ian Bush case. There are so many problems, but no one has been held accountable.

Will the Prime Minister fire the Commissioner of the RCMP immediately?

Maher Arar InquiryOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, on the first half of the question, I can only agree with the leader of the NDP. We are very concerned with a number of the matters he has brought forward. This government is determined and I have made it very clear we are determined to investigate thoroughly, to have accountability.

I can also tell him that we are going to follow due process. We do not fire people without due process. We will proceed appropriately and ensure that there is accountability for actions.

MarriageOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Belinda Stronach Liberal Newmarket—Aurora, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister.

Does the Prime Minister believe that same sex marriage has in any way had a negative impact on our society or on traditional marriage, and if so, could he explain how?

MarriageOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, I can let the members of the House know that in fact there will be a debate on the subject of same sex marriage. The government is following through on its commitments. One of the things that will characterize it on this important issue is that this will be a truly free vote on this side of the House. I wonder if the hon. member could say the same for hers.

MarriageOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Belinda Stronach Liberal Newmarket—Aurora, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives made another commitment not to break their promise on income trusts, but they had no problem with that one.

Does the Conservative government plan on taking a new look at other minority rights guaranteed in the charter, and if there are no plans to go after other minorities, can the Prime Minister assure this House that gay and lesbian rights are the only minority rights currently under review?

MarriageOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, this government is very mindful of minority rights and also very mindful of the fact that the party over there never spoke up for the minority rights of native women. I am very proud of our minister who is taking steps to ensure that native women on reserve have matrimonial property rights, something that the party opposite has never even addressed. Talk about picking and choosing rights.

MarriageOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Bill Graham Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, unlike the present government, I can say that on one of the proudest days of my political life, I shared in the celebration of the marriage of hundreds of gay and lesbian couples at City Hall in Toronto, couples from Canada and the United States celebrating their commitment to one another and making them full and equal participants in society. Each ceremony was a milestone on the road to equality and human rights for us all.

Why on earth, given his clear understanding of the charter prohibition against what he is doing, would the Prime Minister reopen a debate today that creates agony for some and discord and divisions among us all?

MarriageOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister promised during the election that there would be an open and free vote on this matter. There is going to be a debate on this matter. It is unfortunate that the party opposite does not have the same right to have a free vote in respect of a matter that falls within Parliament's jurisdiction. It is unfortunate that their constituents will not be represented in an open and a free vote.

MarriageOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Bill Graham Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is a free vote by a government determined to become the first in our history to restrict the rights of a minority protected by our Charter.

Furthermore, his plan is a charade. The motion mentions the protection of civil unions, when everyone knows that civil unions are the exclusive jurisdiction of the provinces.

Why do the Prime Minister and the Minister of Justice not have the decency to put an end to this charade, which is so divisive and creates such agitation among our citizens?

MarriageOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as the former leader of the opposition knows, this government promised to have a free vote on the subject of marriage during the life of this Parliament and I expect everyone to vote.

The first time we had a vote here, the current leader of the Liberal Party voted against same-sex marriage.

The leader of the Liberal Party, the first time we voted, voted against same sex marriage. Now he wants to vote for it. I do not understand why he thinks he should be able to impose his flip-flop on all of his members.

Older WorkersOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, the former older workers of Whirlpool are dealing with hard times: sickness, depression, early death after a long period of discouragement following the closing of their plant. They are unable to find new work on the labour market and the federal government has abandoned them to their sorry state.

How can the federal government stand by without lifting a finger in the face of such a serious human drama when it needs only to implement an income support program for older workers such as there was only a few years ago?

Why does it not act?

Older WorkersOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, we brought in several programs to assist those who have lost their jobs beyond their control, who have found themselves unfortunately displaced. One is, as the Bloc had been requesting, the pilot program for older workers, where we work with the provinces to help people who have found themselves displaced prepare for new jobs and how to apply for them.

Older WorkersOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Bloc Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, the programs that the minister is talking about are programs for people who can still work.

The former income support program for older workers, known as POWA, worked very well and often represented a last hope for many older workers who were the victims of mass layoffs.

How are we to explain to older workers and their families that a government with colossal surpluses abandons them almost without resources while the solution to their problems is well known and easy to put in place?

Older WorkersOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, right now across this country we are experiencing severe labour shortages. Employers are screaming for new employees. Whenever someone is displaced, we want to help them to get back into the workforce. Unlike the Bloc that would like to pay them to stay at home and sit there and worry about their futures, we want these people to become productive parts of society once again for their own good and for the sake of the country.

Status of WomenOral Questions

December 5th, 2006 / 2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Maria Mourani Bloc Ahuntsic, QC

Mr. Speaker, this summer the Minister of Canadian Heritage and the Status of Women grudgingly signed several applications for grants from the women’s program. The decision making process took so long that an organization like the National Association of Women and the Law was forced to temporarily close its doors. Now, supposedly in the name of efficiency, the government has confirmed that 63 of the 131 positions in Status of Women Canada have been abolished.

How can the minister expect this House to believe that she can do a better job with only 68 public servants and that her decisions will be based on serious analysis and not on half-baked premises?

Status of WomenOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Bev Oda ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, I want to be clear and say that the money saved in administration is going directly to help women in the community.

For greater clarity, that means an additional $5 million allocated to projects for women.

It is more money for women in the community.

Status of WomenOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, on October 5, when she appeared before the Standing Committee on the Status of Women, the minister emphasized the importance of services to the community. Now, today, it is rumoured that the Status of Women Canada office in Sainte-Foy is to be closed, an office that analyzes and deals with applications related to the women’s program.

Can the minister responsible for the region of Quebec confirm the closing of this Status of Women Canada office, and can she justify such a decision to the women’s groups in the Quebec City area?

Status of WomenOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Bev Oda ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, unlike the previous government, this government will redistribute its administrative savings to projects that help women directly.

If that means closing offices but still being able to support organizations that help women in the community, that is what this government will do.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

John Godfrey Liberal Don Valley West, ON

Mr. Speaker, last night, the House of Commons voted to send Bill C-30 to a legislative committee to be completely rewritten. In committee we will be able to take the Conservatives by the hand, as we would with a child, and teach them how to make this bill effective in the fight against global warming.

Does the Prime Minister promise to respect the committee's recommendations, even if they involve Kyoto protocol obligations and serious limits on the biggest emitters?