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House of Commons Hansard #94 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was work.

Topics

LiteracyStatements By Members

11 a.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to rise today and congratulate Carol Windley of Nanaimo for her recent nomination to the short list for the 2006 Giller prize. Carol's collection of short stories, Home Schooling, is set on rural Vancouver Island and the Pacific northwest.

This is a quote from Carol on her home, “I find that this part of the world with the forests, the shorelines and all that complexity that's available to the imagination, lends itself wonderfully to writing fiction”, and I could not agree more.

It is unfortunate that in the same month we celebrated Carol's achievement in Nanaimo--Cowichan, we learned the Conservatives had cut literacy programs. This may end many people's opportunities to develop the skills to read and enjoy Carol's work.

From youth whose home life made school difficult, to adults whose reading skills have grown rusty, to brain injured people relearning the most basic skills, literacy programs are important to everyone.

I call on the Conservative government to reinstate the funds for literacy programs so everyone can have the opportunity to read Carol's book.

Liberal Leadership ConventionStatements By Members

11 a.m.

Conservative

Chris Warkentin Conservative Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, no matter what their heritage, religion or social class, in my Canada everybody is welcome to be involved in political life.

During their leadership race, Liberal delegates were encouraged to not vote based on who was best for the job, but based on racist and bigoted stereotypes.

It is being widely reported today in the media that Bob Rae was a target of anti-Semitic attacks during the Liberal leadership race, motivated at least in part by the fact that his wife is Jewish.

Reports say that in an attempt to bolster another candidate, the strategists approached Rae's own wife telling her not to vote for Rae “because his wife is Jewish”. The report goes on to say that Mrs. Perly Rae informed the delegate that she in fact was that Jewish wife who was in question.

On the government side of the House, we believe in a Canada that accepts all and encourages all to be involved in politics. It is too bad that some members of the Liberal Party do not agree.

Tourism IndustryStatements By Members

11 a.m.

Liberal

Ken Boshcoff Liberal Thunder Bay—Rainy River, ON

Mr. Speaker, the recent announcement by the government of its intention to cancel the GST visitor rebate program is a serious blow to the tourism industry in the ridings of rural Canada.

The government claims that only 3% of visitors to Canada take advantage of this program, but the facts show that a majority of tourist outfitters in northwestern Ontario use the rebate system. The finance ministry does not track GST rebates that are issued by tourist camps and tour businesses, so it is impossible for it to know the true participation rate.

U.S. tourists visiting my region alone generate $396 million of economic activity each year and employ more than 12,000 people in the area. The cutting of this program represents yet another setback to an industry that is already challenged by decreased visits due to the high Canadian dollar and increasing border security.

I call on all members of Parliament to support our tourism industry by voting against the cancellation of the GST visitor rebate program.

Government PoliciesStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

Colin Mayes Conservative Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Mr. Speaker, 10 months ago I arrived in Ottawa to provide good government to my constituents of Okanagan—Shuswap, and all Canadians. After 10 months, I have come to realize that what I believe is good government is at odds with members opposite.

A former statesman said, “a wise and frugal government which shall restrain citizens from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to pursue individual enterprise and shall not take from the mouth of labour the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government”. The three principles of this statement are law and order, freedom of choice and tax fairness.

Our new government has introduced over a dozen new bills to strengthen the laws and invested in policing to protect our citizens. Our new government's child care allowance gives Canadian families freedom of choice to pursue their priorities. Finally, our tax fairness initiatives are leaving more money on the table for Canadian families.

I stand on this side of the House because Conservatives believe in these principles and are delivering good government to Canadians.

Madeleine JuneauStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Bloc

Thierry St-Cyr Bloc Jeanne-Le Ber, QC

Mr. Speaker, today I have the honour to acknowledge the contribution of an exceptional woman from the southwestern part of Montreal, whose vitality and determination amaze me. Her quest for excellence and her visionary spirit very clearly show that we are all capable, in 2006, of achieving our goals and making our dreams come true.

I want to congratulate Sister Madeleine Juneau, who was named the 2006 businesswoman of Quebec in the category of not for profit employees or executives.

Madeleine Juneau is the director general of the Maison Saint-Gabriel. Her visionary spirit and her quest for excellence are evident in the original approach she took to developing the museum's site and programming. It was because of this experience that she was able to contribute significantly to improving Pointe-Saint-Charles, a neighbourhood she works hard for and is proud of.

The Maison Saint-Gabriel is one of the oldest existing homes on the island of Montreal and one of the best examples in Quebec of French regime architecture. It was purchased in 1668 by Marguerite Bourgeoys and was used as a home for the Filles du Roy.

JusticeStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

Joy Smith Conservative Kildonan—St. Paul, MB

Mr. Speaker, late last night three Winnipeg police officers were shot while executing a drug warrant. I would like to express my heartfelt sympathies to the officers and their families. It is unacceptable that officers are put in these kinds of situations, acting on behalf of Canadians.

Our government stands solidly in support of assisting our police officers because they are our front line protection against crimes that are destroying our communities.

Liberal and NDP MPs have gutted our legislation to restrict house arrest for dangerous criminals, just like these drug dealers. They are also holding up our bill on increased mandatory minimum sentences on gun crime.

When will they stop concerning themselves about the rights of criminals and support our efforts to restore balance in the justice system by supporting victims and police officers who protect us?

As the mother of a police officer, I would encourage all members in the House to stop being soft on crime and start standing up for taxpaying citizens.

Teen SuicideStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Anthony Rota Liberal Nipissing—Timiskaming, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to bring awareness to the issue of teen suicide. According to Statistics Canada, suicide accounts for 24% of all deaths among 15 to 24 year olds and 16% among 16 to 44 year olds in our country.

In the words of my constituent, Chantal Fleming, who lost her only son Ryan to suicide:

Until your life has been devastated by the suicide loss of your child, family member or friend, a person can never truly comprehend these statistics; they are simply too chilling for our minds to understand.

We must break the silence on teen suicide. We must also look to provide services and support networks to those who need it most, teenagers and young adults. Furthermore, we need to develop better programs for those who are bereaved by the suicide of a loved one.

In memory of Ryan Fleming, I call on all hon. members to help raise awareness of this devastating reality and to work together to help develop and improve long term support solutions.

Standing Committee on Official LanguagesStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

Sylvie Boucher Conservative Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to express my gratitude to the members of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Official Languages for the work they are doing with their cross-Canada tour. This tour is giving us the opportunity to learn about the achievements of francophone and anglophone minority language communities, as well as the challenges they face.

The committee is an important part of our parliamentary system, and on behalf of the Minister for la Francophonie and Official Languages, I salute this initiative.

I would also like to thank all of the community representatives who appeared before the committee during its stops in eastern and western Canada. Our new government's commitment to these communities is steadfast. Their vitality is an essential part of our linguistic duality.

This is the first time the committee has travelled to meet francophone and anglophone minority language communities, and it happened under a Conservative government.

HomelessnessStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

NDP

Dawn Black NDP New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, as winter approaches, the situation for the homeless in my communities of New Westminster, Port Moody and Coquitlam worsens. In New Westminster alone, the number of my constituents who are homeless has risen an incredible 33% in recent years. Not only is it unacceptable, it is disgraceful that people are sleeping on the streets in my riding or on the banks of the Fraser River or underneath the SkyTrain overpass.

There are some wonderful organizations, including the Tri-Cities Housing Coalition, Hope for Freedom Society and the New Westminster Homeless Coalition, that work so hard for affordable housing and for the homeless, but without action from the government they can only do so much.

Because the government fails to support housing projects, many organizations will have to scale back or shut down, maybe even before Christmas, as their funds run out.

When will the government enact a national housing strategy so that no Canadian has no other choice but to sleep on the streets?

Aboriginal AffairsStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Tina Keeper Liberal Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, this Sunday, December 10, is International Human Rights Day. It is a day on which the entire international community will both celebrate the human rights achievements made over this past century and acknowledge the human rights that we must address.

I wish to remind Canadians that they do not have to look so far to find issues with human rights, as there is the issue of first nations child welfare. The national Wen: De Report on first nations child welfare has provided Indian and Northern Affairs Canada with an evidence based solution to redress the inequity in child welfare funding.

Despite acknowledging that the current federal funding is inadequate, the government has not implemented the Wen: De Report recommendations.

The report also highlights the jurisdictional and departmental disputes involving the federal and provincial governments that have meant first nations children with disabilities or complex medical needs are denied or face serious delay in services available to other Canadian children.

The tragic story of a first nations child named Jordan who died because he did not receive access to medical services in a timely way was presented at the United Nations in the Jordan's principle, calling for an end to these disputes.

Carlo BenedettiStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Bloc

Marcel Lussier Bloc Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, Carlo Benedetti, a resident of my riding and a master's student in chemical engineering at the Université de Sherbrooke, won first place at the international conference of the International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering, ISPE, held in Orlando, Florida, on November 6.

Carlo Benedetti won first place in the graduate division for the quality and presentation of his project, which was about a new method for the analysis of knowledge acquisition processes to improve the efficiency of prescription drug production.

Mr. Benedetti undertook the study of this process as part of a project supervised by Professor Abatzoglou, thanks to the financial participation of Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, the Université de Montréal and the Université de Sherbrooke.

I would like to offer my sincere congratulations to Carlo Benedetti for his remarkable success at the international level and for having represented us so honourably.

HealthStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, constituents from my riding are petitioning the government to implement tax incentives to encourage Canadians to take out gym memberships.

They believe it is time for the government to focus on prevention rather than treatment as the overarching principle of our health care system. They rightly believe that, in addition to lowering health care costs, this would mean physically fit citizens who are happier and more productive in their personal and professional lives.

Although tax incentives for gym memberships will not empower all citizens to lead healthy lifestyles, they will help eliminate unnecessary financial barriers to physical activity for many. The government should therefore implement such a tax incentive in its next budget.

Softwood LumberStatements By Members

December 8th, 2006 / 11:15 a.m.

Conservative

Helena Guergis Conservative Simcoe—Grey, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to stand here in the House as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade and tell members that a lot of hard work and negotiations went into the softwood lumber agreement. Not only am I proud that Bill C-24 passed, but I am also proud to be part of a government that does what it says it is going to do and works as a team.

On Wednesday I was disappointed to see all but two Liberal MPs stand in the House of Commons and vote against the softwood lumber agreement. This is shameful, given the support for the agreement by the provinces, including the province of Quebec, where the new Liberal leader is from, and the support from industry, labour and unions in Quebec.

How could the Liberals not support an agreement that is obviously in the best interests of Canada? This further demonstrates the Liberal tradition of playing political games. By not supporting the deal, the Liberals are putting their own partisan interests ahead of the needs of all Canadians.

RCMP CommissionerOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, the facts are very clear, and they were clear long before last Monday.

There were two letters indicating that Commissioner Zaccardelli was about to change his testimony. One was even addressed to the Deputy Minister of Public Safety. The minister's officials knew that the commissioner was going to change his testimony. In addition, Commissioner Zaccardelli says he told the minister himself directly.

Why, then, is the minister continuing to maintain that he knew nothing? How can he continue to deny the truth?

RCMP CommissionerOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals are the ones denying the truth.

This government is continuing, as always, to tell the truth about this case. It is clear that Commissioner Zaccardelli expressed the desire to testify a second time before the public safety committee. This was obviously his choice and his responsibility. It would have been totally irresponsible for the minister or the government to prevent such testimony by the commissioner, who has taken responsibility for his actions and tendered his resignation.

RCMP CommissionerOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister and that parliamentary secretary can keep saying ”the dog ate my homework”, but it is now painfully evident that the minister knew that Canadians were being misled and did nothing about it. The minister is desperately trying to change the subject by saying that “anything I could have done would have been called political interference”. This is nonsense.

Canadians want to know why, when there was evidence they were being deceived, the minister did absolutely nothing to get them the correct information. Why did he aid and abet this deception?

RCMP CommissionerOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the minister and the government found out that the commissioner wanted to clarify his testimony at the same time and in the same way as everyone else, and of course we respected the commissioner's right to do so.

The real question is, why is it that the Liberals favour political interference in the operations of the RCMP? Why is it that the former Liberal solicitor general, the member for Malpeque, said with respect to the RCMP investigation into the Liberal income trust fiasco and scandal that he “felt strongly that the very next day the minister at the time of public security should have asked for” the commissioner's “removal”.

Why is that he wanted the government to fire the RCMP Commissioner for investigating the Liberals?

RCMP CommissionerOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, here is what former RCMP legal counsel Alain-Robert Nadeau said:

Personally, I can see only two alternatives that would restore the confidence of Canadians: a royal commission of inquiry into the operations of the RCMP or, more simply, the minister's resignation. Such is the price of our freedom.

I would like to know what the minister thinks of Mr. Nadeau's advice?

RCMP CommissionerOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, it is very clear that the Liberals continue to try to distract public attention away from the fact that the entire Arar fiasco occurred under their watch. Mr. Arar was sent to Syria, was tortured in a Syrian jail, a former Liberal minister of foreign affairs denied that he was being tortured, and all of this happened under their watch.

Canadians are still waiting for a little patina of humility from the Liberal Party. When are the Liberals going to stand up and apologize for the mistreatment of Canadians abroad under their watch?

RCMP CommissionerOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Liberal Ajax—Pickering, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would ask that the parliamentary secretary take this question seriously: why? Why did the government wait until outrage gripped the nation before it acted?

Despite contradiction after contradiction, a letter foretelling it all, ministerial meetings with the commissioner and urgings from his own cabinet, the Prime Minister did nothing. Worse than nothing, the Prime Minister gave the commissioner his unqualified, unreserved support through it all.

Why? Why did the Prime Minister do nothing when he knew everything?

RCMP CommissionerOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, those two words “do nothing” could characterize the former Liberal regime and what it did not do on this file.

Contrast that with the response from this government. Immediately when Justice O'Connor's report was made public, we accepted all 23 recommendations, which puts in place a far better system, one that the Liberals had presided over that was broken and unattended to.

We also said very clearly that we wanted to deal with the matter of Mr. Arar and the compensation. That discussion is going on this very week.

We have a better system in place now because we fixed the mess that they left behind.

RCMP CommissionerOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Liberal Ajax—Pickering, ON

Mr. Speaker, while we were pushing to get Maher Arar out of prison, pushing the RCMP for answers, and calling the Arar inquiry, the Minister of Public Safety and the Prime Minister were labelling Mr. Arar a terrorist, and still to this day have yet to apologize.

We now know the deputy to the Minister of Public Safety got the letter. The parliamentary secretary got the letter. The commissioner spoke to him about the letter, and in early November the minister knew it all.

Did the minister sit on this information and do nothing or was he muzzled? Is the Prime Minister the reason the commissioner was protected?

RCMP CommissionerOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, a former Liberal, whom we all respect, used to stand in this chamber for some 40 years and say that he rejected the premise of the question.

I do not just reject the premise, I reject the method in which that member, every time he asks a question, first puts forward an absolute falsehood, and that is the kindest word I can use, and then proceeds with a question.

There is no quote anywhere where anyone on this side called Mr. Arar a terrorist. As a matter of fact, I asked this question when I was in opposition: “--one thing is clear: his basic rights have been violated. Why hasn't federal government demanded an apology from the Syrian government?” I also wanted to know why the government could let that man stay in jail for so long.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Minister of the Environment said that she will soon be announcing environmental programs that will involve public participation. Yet against her own officials' advice, her government slashed programs, such as EnerGuide, that were working.

Given that she herself created this program vacuum, will the Minister of the Environment acknowledge that her ideological stubbornness and rash actions have wasted a great deal of time and now force her to start back at square one by announcing new programs?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister

No, Mr. Speaker, I reject the question.

We saw that, under the Liberals, millions of dollars were wasted on programs that did not deliver tangible results. Even the Liberal Party's Kyoto program resulted in a 35% increase in greenhouse gas emissions. In that sense, most of those programs were ineffective. The government has targeted the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions with much more effective programs.