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House of Commons Hansard #7 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was crime.

Topics

Interparliamentary DelegationsRoutine Proceedings

10 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I have the honour to lay upon the table the report on the Canadian parliamentary delegation to the Republic of Portugal from November 5-9, 2005.

Governor General's Special WarrantsRoutine Proceedings

10 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, as required by section 33 of the Financial Administration Act and as part of our commitment toward accountability and openness, I am honoured to table, in both official languages, the statement on the use of Governor General's special warrants.

Public Service Integrity OfficerRoutine Proceedings

10 a.m.

Wellington—Halton Hills Ontario

Conservative

Michael Chong ConservativePresident of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the 2004-05 annual report of the public service integrity officer.

Access to Information ActRoutine Proceedings

10 a.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 32(2), I am pleased to table, in both official languages, the following two documents: first, a discussion paper entitled, “Strengthening the Access to Information Act: A Discussion of Ideas Intrinsic to the Reform of the Access to Information Act”; and, second, the proposals of the Information Commissioner to amend the Access to Information Act.

Report of Nisga'a Final AgreementRoutine Proceedings

10 a.m.

Winnipeg South Manitoba

Conservative

Rod Bruinooge ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians

Mr. Speaker, under provisions of Standing Order 32, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, copies of the 2003-04 annual report of the Nisga'a final agreement.

Report of Yukon Land ClaimsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Winnipeg South Manitoba

Conservative

Rod Bruinooge ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians

Mr. Speaker, under provisions of Standing Order 32(2), I have the honour to table in both official languages, copies of the 2003-04 annual report of the Yukon land claims and self-government agreements.

Report of the Sahtu, Dene and Métis Comprehensive Land Claim AgreementRoutine Proceedings

April 11th, 2006 / 10:05 a.m.

Winnipeg South Manitoba

Conservative

Rod Bruinooge ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians

Mr. Speaker, I also have both copies of the 2003-04 annual report of the implementation committee on the Sahtu, Dene and Métis comprehensive land claim agreement.

Federal Accountability ActRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board

Federal Accountability ActRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, it is a great honour, on behalf of this Prime Minister and this team, to table unprecedented legislation, the toughest of its kind in history, to help clean up government and restore the public trust.

Federal Accountability ActRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to say a couple of words on behalf of the NDP caucus.

We are very pleased to hear the confidence the President of the Treasury Board has that the bill he is tabling today will change the culture in Ottawa. We would welcome that. We would be the first to compliment the government if it were to end the corruption that we suffered through for many years under the Liberal government.

We observed that the Liberals viewed Canadians the way P.T. Barnum viewed circus-goers for many years and we are sick of that on behalf of the NDP government.

I also caution that our name is Tucker not Sucker and we will not be led down the garden path if this is not all it is cracked up to be. If this is destined to fail or it has a poison pill in it we will be the first ones to be there to criticize it.

Federal Accountability ActRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

Keith Martin Liberal Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, we will be looking very closely at the bill to ensure it is in the interest of the public. What is very important right now is that the government understand the difference between accountability and conduct. Conduct and accountability are not the same things. The danger of the bill is that it could wind up causing gridlock in the public service.

As every member of the government knows, when we were in government we introduced a whole collection of solutions with respect to dealing with accountability within the government. We introduced new measures for crown corporations and new measures in true accountability. As the official opposition, we will be looking very closely--

Federal Accountability ActRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I am afraid we have time limits on the statements in response because they are not to be longer than the original statement. Obviously that has created some difficulties.

SomaliaPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

Borys Wrzesnewskyj Liberal Etobicoke Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36, I have the pleasure to present a petition signed by some 30 people from my riding of Etobicoke Centre.

The petitioners are deeply worried about the ongoing challenges faced by Somalia in nurturing civil society and are calling upon the Canadian government to appoint a special envoy to Somalia. As well, Somalia is in the grips of a major drought and my constituents are urging the Canadian government to step up to the plate in this time of need. A famine's death march does not wait.

Child CarePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, I have the pleasure to present another petition from concerned people in and around my constituency about the government's plans for child care.

They say, among other things, that 70% of women with children under the age of six are employed; that a $100 a month taxable allowance amounts to a small child benefit and will not establish new child care spaces; that child care is an everyday necessity; and that there is an urgent and immediate need for additional child care spaces.

The residents of Nova Scotia call upon the government to honour the early learning and child care agreement in principle and to fund it for a full five years.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, I ask that all questions be allowed to stand.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Is that agreed?

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

The House resumed from April 10 consideration of the motion, as amended, for an address to Her Excellency the Governor General in reply to her speech at the opening of the session.

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

10:10 a.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

To continue my remarks from yesterday, Mr. Speaker, also of great concern to the citizens of my riding of Parkdale--High Park is the issue of crime. As many know, a scourge of guns and gang violence has hit Toronto in recent months. For Toronto to thrive, its residents must feel safe. During the election campaign, I spoke of the need to deal seriously with violent crime. The throne speech mentions that “equally important” is the need to prevent crime before it takes root.

Many African Canadian parents in Toronto are worried sick about their kids. For crime to truly be prevented we need federal help to create new sources of opportunity for our young people, to keep community centres open and especially to help in the most vulnerable and economically depressed neighbourhoods.

The members of Parliament have to work together to prevent the flow of illegal firearms from the United States that end up on our streets, killing our young people. Only by working to eliminate handguns from our streets will we be helping to safeguard our urban centres like the city of Toronto.

The citizens of Toronto also face another danger from a different source, one that is less high profile, perhaps, but is becoming all too visible: smog, pollution and climate change. To tackle this problem we need more than platitudes in a throne speech. We need more than a promise to stay in the Kyoto protocol while ignoring its targets. That strategy seems vaguely familiar. I hope this is not a case of “meet the new boss, same as the old boss”.

We need concrete measures to reduce the smog and air pollution that kill thousands of Canadians every year. I was proud to bring Greenpeace and the Canadian Auto Workers together to help create the green car strategy for the NDP. We need to implement this and other innovative ideas so that we can clean our air and protect Canadian jobs at the same time.

I am proud to have been involved with the labour movement for many years and, as such, protecting decent paying jobs for Canadians is also a key priority for me. The government should know that you cannot simply mention working families without speaking in concrete terms as to how we are going to create and protect jobs.

The throne speech had no mention of industrial strategy, no mention of trade policy and agreements that threaten our workforce and no mention of protecting unionized workers with real anti-scab legislation. In my mind, this is simply not good enough. Working families need more than 1% or 2% off the GST. They need child care spaces. They need safe, clean cities. They need decent jobs.

As I mentioned earlier, the city of Toronto has to be more than a vital economic engine. It must be our cultural and artistic centre.

Former NDP culture critic Wendy Lill once said that “art is the soul of any great nation”. She was right, but it is more than that. Culture and the arts also represent jobs for Canadians. Twenty-five thousand Toronto jobs are tied to film and television production alone, yet there was no mention of culture in the throne speech. The decision of the CBC to cancel programs like This is Wonderland is having a profound effect on employment and also on our collective identity. We need a strong cultural sector in order to tell our stories as Canadians and protect our sovereignty.

Our sovereignty also depends on an independent foreign policy, one that does not see us blindly walk into George Bush's war on terror. I want us to support our brave men and women who are stationed all over the world, including in Afghanistan, by making sure that we fully debate their role in Parliament, as we started to do last night. If we claim that we are defending democracy abroad, then we must practise it in this chamber by voting on future missions and future deployments.

I know that the people of Parkdale--High Park and Toronto work hard and pay their taxes, but they told me at the doorsteps, in the subway stations and in the coffee shops during the election campaign that they do not mind paying these taxes if they see value for their taxes, if they see that money invested back into their communities in programs and incentives for their neighbourhoods. They want a beautiful waterfront. They want more child care spaces and more affordable education and training programs for their children. They want to see an end to smog days that start as early as February. They want a city within a compassionate country that feeds and houses all its citizens as a very minimum.

In short, we want a Toronto that the whole country can be proud of. It is what I want too. That is why I am hoping to work with everyone in the House as an advocate for Toronto in Ottawa.

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

10:15 a.m.

NDP

Catherine Bell NDP Vancouver Island North, BC

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for Parkdale—High Park for sharing her time with me.

I will begin by thanking the people of Vancouver Island North for the trust they have shown in me to be their representative. In the election campaign, I promised to make sure that Ottawa knows where Vancouver Island North is and what Vancouver Island North needs, a task I will take very seriously.

I am proud to say that I was born in the riding and have lived in a number of its communities. It is a very large area with some of the most beautiful landscapes in the country and contains many people who still exhibit that great pioneer spirit that created this country.

Vancouver Island North has the Pacific Ocean as its western boundary and the Strait of Georgia borders on the southeast. It is just over 52,000 square kilometres in size with 109,000 residents. That is two people per square kilometre. Some parts of it are only accessible by air or boat. Most people live in the towns and cities that have been built in and around the traditional industries of the area, which are forestry and fishing.

I listened carefully to the throne speech to hear what the government intends to do to address the serious concerns of people working in those industries. It said, “This Government recognizes the unique challenges faced by those who make their livelihood from our land and oceans in our vital natural resource and agriculture industries”.

Recognition is nice, but action is what is needed. The absence of action on major issues facing workers and their families in our forestry communities is a form of neglect that borders on abuse. We need concrete action to end the softwood lumber dispute and a comprehensive plan to ensure that the money, when it comes back to Canada, goes to the people in those communities who have been so dramatically affected by this trade dispute.

We need to end the practice of allowing raw logs to be exported from private land under federal jurisdiction. We need better stewardship of our forestry resources. We must ensure that it can provide jobs for this generation and many future generations while also respecting the environment.

Earning a living from the fishery is far too rapidly becoming a part of the history of Vancouver Island North. Our inability to be reasonable stewards of our ocean's resources is a sad testimony and a cruel indictment to the many people living in my riding.

Even when fish can be found, caught and landed, they, like the raw logs from our forests, are far too often trucked out of our communities to provide jobs for people in other places. It worries me not to see a single mention of our west coast fishery in the throne speech. We need leadership in Canada. We need to stop standing back and letting unsustainable practices threaten our wild fish stocks. We need to work with aquaculture companies to find a productive and sustainable way to farm fish. We need to shake off our complacent attitude, which in reality will only continue to pit people against each other in our coastal communities.

The pioneer spirit that I refer to shows up in the people who are working hard and investing their time and money in developing new sustainable energy sources. Whether working on common sense wind power or leading edge tidal power generators, people in my riding are looking for leadership from their federal government in moving us away from their reliance on fossil fuels. They are looking for substantive measures to achieve this goal. I look forward to working with these new pioneers to make real inroads in sustainable power generation and to ensure that vague promises made in the throne speech are turned into real and tangible results.

I want to shift gears just a little and mention the vital work done by the men and women in the armed forces based at CFB Comox. Like Canadian armed forces personnel everywhere, they are dedicated to the work they do to serve their country. They approach their dual tasks of defensive surveillance and search and rescue support with determination and professionalism, but they continue to work in outdated buildings that will not survive an earthquake and with planes and helicopters that have long passed their due dates.

The Conservatives made many promises in the election campaign with regard to our armed forces in general and CFB Comox in particular. The throne speech makes a mere reference to “a stronger military”. I will be vigilant in reminding the government of its promises and working with it to keep those promises.

In its throne speech, the government states that it “will not try to do all things at once”. One can argue that this is a prudent way to proceed, but it is my belief that some things cannot wait.

There are two more priorities that I want to outline. The first is the need for the federal government to work with communities across Canada to quickly and efficiently modernize and expand our infrastructure. I am told by elected municipal officials and first nations leaders throughout my riding that this cannot be left for another day. This must be done.

In the Comox valley, our cities and regional districts are struggling to come to terms with aging water and sewer systems. Growth caused by more and more people moving to this lovely area is putting a huge strain on infrastructure, which must be dealt with.

I recently met with Port Hardy mayor Hank Bood and members of his staff and council. They made it very clear that the federal government must share in the cost of upgrading and expanding their sewage treatment facilities to end the pollution of nearby Stories Beach.

I left Port Hardy and drove a short distance down the highway to Fort Rupert, where I was invited to have lunch with the elders of the Kwakiutl Band. In the course of our discussion, the members of the band described the hardship they faced because they could not harvest the seafood that should be readily available to them from the beach on their reserve. That beach, the same one the mayor had spoken of, is badly contaminated and has been closed by health officials.

That brings me to the last concern I want to raise. I was honoured to receive significant support from the almost 20 first nations who live in Vancouver Island North. I look forward to continuing to meet and work with them. I will work with the government to ensure that the commitment in the throne speech to improve opportunities for aboriginal people in Canada is not mere empty words and unkept promises.

In keeping with my objective to bring to Ottawa the voices of the people I represent, I want to close with this passage from a report by Am Johal on the residential school student gathering held in Alert Bay in August last year. It states:

In the small island community of Alert Bay near northern Vancouver Island, hundreds of survivors of St. Michael's Residential School stood on the idyllic shoreline near the U'mista Cultural Centre. It was misty as the fog rolled in and perched on the calm water.

It was an enchanting setting. Canoes carrying some of the former students arrived at the school for a bittersweet reunion. As they came closer, one of the chiefs stood up from the canoe and asked for permission to come to shore.

Chief Bill Cranmer from the Namgis First Nation welcomed them in. They paddled the canoe in backwards as a gesture of friendship, rather than one of aggression, as is symbolized by paddling in from the front.

St. Michael's Residential School was open from 1929 to 1975. Over the weekend, more than 250 First Nations from all over British Columbia representing some 18 bands came to attend the healing ceremony.

“We used to be beaten for speaking our own language. We were removed from our own communities...we need to remove the trauma, so we can develop in the way we want to,” said Chief Cranmer as he addressed the former students.

“We need to move forward and we hope you share with us the notion that this shouldn't have happened to us or our children. The future belongs to us. We need to rebuild our history.”

As the Coast Salish dancers began preparations for their healing dance, Chief Cranmer said, “We have come to look past what's happened to you. We have come here for our ancestors. We can find time to move to a better place”.

As a line formed inside the school, the hallways and classrooms brought back memories that had many people bent over and sobbing with tears. Some needed to be physically supported. Relatives and friends clung to one another.

Back at the Big House, another speaker said, “It is time for healing and reconciliation. The colonisers brought an oppression which made us oppress ourselves.”

Chief Cranmer once again addressed the gathering. “We used to line up to pray to a God we didn't believe in.

Our role models weren't positive.

We suffered from diseases brought in by colonisation, the residential school system which hurt our culture, and the potlatch prohibition.

They took away our humanity.”

The throne speech talks about building a stronger Canada. On behalf of the people of my riding, I will keep their concerns in the forefront as we work in this Parliament to achieve that goal.

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

10:25 a.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Bill Blaikie

Before moving on to the questions and comments period, I wish to inform the House that because of the ministerial statement, Government Orders will be extended by three minutes.

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

10:25 a.m.

NDP

Bill Siksay NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, let me offer my congratulations to you on your new role in the House.

I want to thank my colleagues from Parkdale—High Park and Vancouver Island North for their speeches this morning. They both raised some very important points, in particular, dealing with the concerns of their regions, and very different regions of this country they are. Vancouver Island North is very different from downtown Toronto. They were both very articulate about the needs of their particular communities. I want to ask my colleague from Vancouver Island North to comment on two things.

Lately in the House we have heard about the delay in the settlement of the residential schools question. That is causing frustration and concerns especially for some older people who are due compensation and may not live to see it. There is talk that their compensation may be delayed into 2007.

I also want to ask her to comment on something the member for Parkdale—High Park raised, which was the need for anti-scab legislation in Canada in the federal jurisdiction. In our home province of British Columbia we have that kind of legislation. It was introduced by the former NDP government. Interestingly enough, it was not undone by the current Liberal government in British Columbia because it works so effectively to settle labour disputes, to settle disputes in the workplace in British Columbia.

Could the hon. member comment on the usefulness and the importance of legislation dealing with the question of replacement workers?

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

10:30 a.m.

NDP

Catherine Bell NDP Vancouver Island North, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate you on your ascension to Deputy Speaker.

Regarding the delay in the residential school payment, the residents of Vancouver Island North and first nations communities across the board have said to me that this needs to come forth now. They have waited many, many years.

The effects of the residential school abuse are not just found in the elders. Some of them have passed away. It is a multi-generational issue. It has affected their children and their children's children. It has affected their ability to become productive citizens in their communities. They want healing. They want to be able to move on, to move past this and to build their communities in a more positive way.

The government has an obligation to first nations and we want to see that followed through in a very quick manner. We should not tolerate delays because first nations have suffered far too long.

Regarding anti-scab legislation, this is something I have long fought for, of course, being from the labour movement. We saw a perfect example last year with the Telus dispute. That dispute went on for months and months. People who had a legal right to strike were on the streets while others were doing their jobs.

If we had that legislation in place, it would limit the length of strikes. We would see a quicker end to disputes, we could move forward and there would not be such tensions in the workplace.

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

10:30 a.m.

Liberal

Keith Martin Liberal Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, last night in the debate on Afghanistan, the NDP members repeatedly made bizarre and erroneous comments on our military involvement in Afghanistan, labelling it as war making. They had real issues with the fact that our troops are there on the ground providing the security required by CIDA, the RCMP and foreign affairs members trying to enable the Afghani people to develop the security and the democratic, political and non-political infrastructure that is required for their country to enable them to stand on their own feet.

My question is on health care. The leader of the NDP received health care in a private clinic. Yet he gets on his high horse and lambastes the involvement of private health care in our global health care system in Canada.

I ask the member, does she or does she not support the presence of private health care within a mixed system in Canada involving a strengthened public health care system, but allowing private services to occur?

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech from the Throne

10:35 a.m.

NDP

Catherine Bell NDP Vancouver Island North, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for his comments regarding the military. Because I did not get an opportunity last night to address some of my concerns, I would like to talk about that now.

I want to remind people that there is a very large air force base in my riding, CFB Comox. I had the opportunity to tour that base with the colonel and some of the other military brass a number of weeks ago. We had a very frank discussion on what is happening in Afghanistan and what our troops our doing there from their perspective. I was able to ask some very serious questions. It was a good discussion and I am glad that we had it.

I learned many things while I was there. I met with some men and women who had just come back from Afghanistan. They had been building some infrastructure over there. One of the things they told me was that they might not agree with what we are saying, but they will lay down their lives for our right to say it. I thought that was very poignant based on the debate that we had last night where some of us felt that our rights to say what we felt in this House were being diminished.