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House of Commons Hansard #92 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was debate.

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 Sackville—Eastern Shore.

[Members sang the national anthem]

The EnvironmentStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Larry Miller Conservative Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to congratulate the staff and council of the County of Grey on the outstanding initiatives they are taking to improve the environment.

This month the council approved a pilot project for local biodiesel production that involves an Owen Sound processor and a group of area canola farmers led by Meaford farmer Brian Wiley. County highways chief Gary Shaw will use locally produced biodiesel fuel in the fleet, which will be provided by local producer Greg Lougheed of Lougheed fuels. The company's is the first 100% biodiesel filling station in Canada.

This is not the first time that Gary Shaw and the County of Grey have been leaders in environmental issues. In 1991, the County of Grey, under the direction of Mr. Shaw, was the very first to use recycled tires to pave roads.

This government is doing its part for the environment with the clean air act and Gary Shaw and the County of Grey are doing their part. Together we will improve our environment.

Violence Against WomenStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Maria Minna Liberal Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, today is the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, a date to remember the 14 women brutally murdered at l'École Polytechnique de Montréal in 1989. They were killed simply because they were women.

This is a day of remembrance and action not only for those 14 young women, but also for the thousands of Canadian women facing discrimination and violence throughout this country.

A 2006 report from Statistics Canada entitled “Women in Canada 2006” states that common assaults make up the largest share of violent offences committed against women. In 2004, 53% of all women who were victims of violent offences were victims of a common assault, while the rest were victims of sexual assault, assault with a weapon causing bodily harm, criminal harassment and robbery. Women are considerably more likely than men to be victims of violent crimes and six times more likely to be victims of sexual assault.

We as Canadians and as women must stand together to stop this and say, “No more”.

Replacement WorkersStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Carole Lavallée Bloc Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, in 1990, the Minister of Labour and member for Jonquière—Alma voted in favour of an anti-scab bill. Now that he is a Conservative minister, not only is he against this excellent piece of legislation, but also, yesterday in committee, he predicted every possible calamity: ruin, economic chaos, total paralysis and even 911 service interruptions.

It appears the minister has joined the fearmongering campaign being waged by the big and powerful business lobby and, in his state of extreme terror, is even confusing provincial and federal jurisdiction. The Minister of Labour should know that the 911 service is under provincial jurisdiction, that in Quebec, 911 employees have been subject to an anti-scab law for the past 30 years, and that this has never resulted in a catastrophe.

Quebec's experience with anti-scab legislation has shown that disputes do not last as long, that they are less violent, and that there is a better balance of power between employers and employees. It is good for workers and it is good for employers.

Violence Against WomenStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Dawn Black NDP New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, today is the 17th anniversary of the horrible massacre at the École Polytechnique in Montreal.

Parliament has declared this a day to honour the 14 young women who were killed and who will never again meet with friends, never laugh and never cry, young women who dreamed their dreams, shared their hopes and aspirations and worked toward achieving their goals, young women who loved and were loved. They were killed simply because they were women.

In every region of Canada, women and men are gathering to remember all victims of violence against women, to share their grief and to gain strength from one another, and they are taking action. They are resolving to change our society to ensure that women and girls walk safely in our streets, that we live securely in our homes and that we may participate fully in society as equal partners. Women and men working together will bring positive change to our society.

We remember. We do remember. Who among us could ever forget?

From an Island to an IslandStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Fabian Manning Conservative Avalon, NL

Mr. Speaker, today I want to pay tribute to one of Newfoundland and Labrador's greatest ambassadors, award winning recording artist Mr. Kevin Collins.

Born in Placentia, Kevin began singing at the age of six, having been influenced by a musical family, including his grandmother, Agnes Tobin Collins, and his dad, Tony Collins. Kevin has released 12 albums and has won several music industry awards, including songwriter of the year award in Ireland.

Kevin has recorded a song composed by our own current federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and entitled From An Island To An Island, describing the strong connection between Ireland and Newfoundland. It has become one of our province's signature songs and became an instant success in Ireland.

Kevin has toured Canada and Ireland and his music is currently played on radio stations all across Europe. Kevin Collins continues to live by his motto, “Newfoundland is a place where hospitality and friendship are not a business, but rather a way of life”.

We extend congratulations to Kevin and wish him the best of luck in the future. He makes all of us proud.

Status of WomenStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Simms Liberal Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor, NL

Mr. Speaker, I too would like to reiterate the comments of my hon. colleague from Avalon in congratulating Mr. Collins.

This year women in Canada should be celebrating the 25th anniversary of Canada's ratification of the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, but they are not celebrating.

The federal government has made alarming changes to Status of Women Canada, including a 40% cut to its operating budget. It has also removed the word “equality” and changed the funding rules to ban all domestic advocacy and lobbying.

Women in my province will be negatively impacted by these changes. For example, the Status of Women council's multi-phase research project to alleviate poverty will no longer qualify under the new funding regime. The voices of equality-seeking women's groups that work to improve our collective quality of life will now be weakened.

The Prime Minister said he would respect and uphold Canada's commitment to women's rights, but he has not kept his word.

When will the government honour these principles? Shame on the government. It should do the right thing and reinstate funding to permit the women of Canada to have a voice.

Halifax ExplosionStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Gerald Keddy Conservative South Shore—St. Margaret's, NS

Mr. Speaker, 89 years ago today, on December 6, 1917, two ships, the Imo and the Mont Blanc, carrying explosives and supplies for the war in Europe, collided in the narrows of Halifax harbour, caught fire and exploded.

In less than 10 seconds, the explosion and ensuing tidal wave had killed 2,000 people and seriously injured 9,000 more. For two square kilometres around Pier 6, nothing was left standing.

It was the largest man-made explosion prior to the atomic bomb and, to make matters worse, that evening a severe snowstorm swept Halifax, further hindering the relief effort.

Nova Scotians and Haligonians will never forget that the first relief train to reach Halifax was sent from Boston in the United States. To recognize that fact, every year Nova Scotia sends to Boston a Christmas tree that is 40 feet high. Once again I would like to recognize that this tree was cut in New Ross. I would like to thank Alan and Antoinette Broome for cutting this tree. I also thank the people from Boston for being neighbours in a time of need.

Maria Chapdelaine Regional Women's CentreStatements By Members

December 6th, 2006 / 2:10 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, the Maria Chapdelaine regional women's centre in Lac-St-Jean is very concerned about this government's constant attacks on women.

With its budget cuts and its refusal to implement pay equity recommendations, this government has done nothing to represent women's interests.

We will have a better society once we have progressive, open governments committed to fighting male-female inequality. Unfortunately, that description does not apply to a significant segment of the Conservative Party and the government it has spawned.

I would like to tell the Maria Chapdelaine regional women's centre that I will always stand up for the basic right to male-female equality and that I will, whenever necessary, intervene against the government no matter the circumstances.

Violence against WomenStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Luc Harvey Conservative Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, it was on this day that the lives of 14 young women ended in tragedy at the École Polytechnique in Montreal. On this National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, established in 1991, Canadians everywhere are asked to remember these young women, and we are also called to action.

As we all know, too many Canadian women and girls are victims of violence every day of their lives. This is unacceptable.

The government has taken steps against this phenomenon. Specifically, it has strengthened our judicial system and supported initiatives such as Sisters in Spirit, a campaign to end violence against aboriginal women.

However, as we know, we are all in this struggle together. Today's commemoration presents an opportunity for us to think, individually and collectively, about concrete measures we can take to prevent and eliminate violence against women and girls. Let us strive to build a Canada in which our daughters, our mothers and our sisters can live without ever fearing violence.

Violence Against WomenStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Susan Kadis Liberal Thornhill, ON

Mr. Speaker, today as we observe the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, lamenting the 1989 tragic and unthinkable shootings at École Polytechnique, we must stand strong together in Parliament, all of us, condemning violence against women and pledging to keep our women safe.

As this is a pervasive, urgent crisis for women and their families, it is inconceivable that the current government short-sightedly cut Status of Women Canada's policy and research fund, which provided vital information and direction on preventing violence against women.

Simply put, women and their families cannot afford to bear the brunt of these cuts. Rather, we need to use every opportunity to do more, much more, not less, to eradicate violence against women, including increasing funding, not decreasing it.

As we reflect on that dark day in 1989, we must honour the victims truly and do everything in our power to prevent even one more woman from becoming a victim. Women at risk are relying on all of us. We cannot fail them.

L'École PolytechniqueStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Helena Guergis Conservative Simcoe—Grey, ON

Mr. Speaker, today marks the anniversary of the murders of 14 young women at l'École Polytechnique de Montréal.

Established in 1991 as the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, today Canadians everywhere are called to remember those young women and we are also called to action. We know that far too many women and girls in Canada face violence each and every day of their lives and this is unacceptable.

Canada's new government has taken steps, such as strengthening our justice system and supporting initiatives like Sisters in Spirit which seeks to end violence against aboriginal women, but we know that combating violence must be a collective effort.

Today's commemoration serves as a time for all Canadians to reflect on the concrete actions we must take, individually and collectively, to prevent and eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls.

Let us work toward creating a Canada where our daughters, mothers and sisters can live free from fear of violence.

L'École PolytechniqueStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Catherine Bell NDP Vancouver Island North, BC

Mr. Speaker, today we remember and mourn the 14 women killed in Montreal, women who have been murdered by their domestic partners and girls who have been violently killed.

Violence against women is still all too prevalent, stemming directly from women's inequality.

I and the women of Vancouver Island North also mourn cuts to services from Status of Women Canada. These are cuts women cannot afford. These cuts mean women of the Pacific DisAbled Women's Network headquartered in my riding will now have to travel not to Victoria or Vancouver but to Edmonton in order to consult with staff in the department. Not all women in Vancouver Island North live in equality. Their basic rights are not guaranteed, particularly if they are aboriginal women.

The NDP, along with the Canadian Labour Congress, believes that $2 for every woman and girl in Canada should be allocated for women's equality. It is not too much to ask for women who live in poverty, who live in fear or who need more, not less, from the government.

École polytechniqueStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Diane Marleau Liberal Sudbury, ON

Mr. Speaker, we are taking a moment today to remember the terrible massacre of 14 young women 17 years ago at the École Polytechnique in Montreal.

Despite our efforts to curb violence against women, it continues to be a serious, persistent problem.

We have a Conservative government that is slashing status of women programs. The minister responsible told us herself that she cut some of the funding because, after all, the funds were mostly used for telephone systems. As though such systems are not needed. Why not ask abused women? They need access to a telephone line.

Now is an appropriate time for this Conservative government to reflect on, think about, remember and act by reversing those shameful cuts.

École PolytechniqueStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Johanne Deschamps Bloc Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, December 6, 1989 is a date that will remain etched in our collective memory. Seventeen years ago today, an armed man entered Montreal's École polytechnique and took the lives of 14 young women. Quebeckers were shocked and devastated by what happened.

After that incident, December 6 was named the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, a day for remembrance and reflection.

According to the United Nations Population Fund, “Gender-based violence is perhaps the most widespread and socially tolerated of human rights violations”. Such violence affects the lives of millions of women and girls and, as one writer in Livre noir de la condition féminine or The Black Book of Women’s Condition, states, “Women are always the first victims of bullying, insecurity, conjugal violence, prostitution, criminality, unemployment and sexism”.

The Bloc Québécois will continue to work to eliminate all forms of violence against women, because freeing women from violence means a more civilized world.

Violence Against WomenStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Sukh Dhaliwal Liberal Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, today marks Canada's Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.

I would like to take a moment in remembrance of the women from my area and many others whose tragic deaths remind us that violence against women remains one of the most important issues we face.

For our daughters and granddaughters, we must pledge to do all we can to make such tragedies, like the killings that occurred recently in my riding, a thing of the past.

The recent cuts by the minority Conservative government to funding for women's programs only make the challenges greater.

I have heard from my constituents on this matter and I stand with them in calling on the government to restore the funding it has so harshly cut and to ensure women's safety and equality.

Federal Accountability ActStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Dave Batters Conservative Palliser, SK

Mr. Speaker, for almost six months, the Liberals have delayed and dithered over the toughest anti-corruption law in Canadian history, the federal accountability act.

This past weekend, we heard a lot of platitudes from the Liberals about renewal. Sadly, it was nothing but a sham. We just need to look at who was elected as the new Liberal Party president, an unelected, unaccountable senator.

However, Canadians have a long memory. They remember the Liberal brown envelopes of cash being passed around. They remember that David Dingwall was entitled to his entitlements. They also remember Alfonso Gagliano's legacy of corruption at Public Works.

The new Leader of the Opposition needs to tell Canadians why he is allowing his unelected Liberal senators to block the accountability act. Unlike the Liberals, it is this Conservative government that is rebuilding the public's trust day in and day out, and that is real leadership.

National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against WomenStatements By Members

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order, please. I invite hon. members to rise and observe a moment of silence to mark the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.

[A moment of silence observed]

RCMP CommissionerOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the disappointing performance of the government is leaving me all choked up.

Again today it is hard to believe that the Prime Minister only found out about the inaccuracies in Commissioner Zaccardelli's testimony on Monday. Canadians want to know when the Prime Minister first found out about these inaccuracies in the commissioner's testimony.

RCMP CommissionerOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I became aware of the differences in the story when everybody else did and that was when the commissioner made his comments on Monday and yesterday.

However, let me just say that the RCMP is one of the most respected and important institutions in the country and I hope all members of the House understand that.

Today, Commissioner Zaccardelli submitted his resignation to me and I have accepted it. The commissioner has indicated to me that it would be in the best interests of the RCMP to have new leadership in that this great organization faces challenges in the future.

I would like to thank the commissioner for his long and dedicated service to the RCMP and to the country.

I am prepared to table the letter and my response in the House right now.

RCMP CommissionerOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister. I have a copy of a letter from the former RCMP commissioner to the Standing Committee on Public Safety dated November 2, in which he indicated that he intended to clarify his initial testimony. The Prime Minister's national security adviser was aware of the letter's contents and surely informed the Prime Minister.

In view of the November 2 letter, how can the Prime Minister continue to say that he only learned of the contradictions in the former commissioner's testimony this week?

RCMP CommissionerOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, everyone knows that the apparent contradictions in the testimony came out yesterday. Once again, the RCMP commissioner has submitted his resignation to me, I have accepted it and thanked the commissioner for his service to the country and to the RCMP.

RCMP CommissionerOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister did not answer my question. What about this letter of November 2? Let me ask the question of his minister since he is unable to answer.

Given that the Prime Minister's national security adviser must have known about these inaccuracies, how could the Minister of Public Safety have said, only on Monday, referring to the commissioner, “He still has the confidence of the government?”

RCMP CommissionerOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, as with most people in the chamber and most Canadians who were watching at the time, we all found out about the glaring contradictions when they came out on Monday. A letter was written to the public safety committee by the commissioner asking for permission to come to that committee and address those concerns, and that is what took place.

RCMP CommissionerOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard Liberal Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the members heard the RCMP commissioner's testimony over the past two days. It is now obvious that the commissioner lost the confidence not only of this House, but now also of this government. This is an important issue for the government itself.

My question for the Prime Minister is simple. Can he tell us how many times his Minister of Public Safety met with the Commissioner of the RCMP to discuss his testimony?