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House of Commons Hansard #10 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was forward.

Topics

2 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

As is our practice on Wednesday we will now sing O Canada, and we will be led by the hon. member for Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca.

[Members sang the national anthem]

Moose Jaw WarriorsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Dave Batters Conservative Palliser, SK

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise in the House of Commons to congratulate the Moose Jaw Warriors for their outstanding play in this year's Western Hockey League playoffs.

It has been a great year to be a hockey fan in Moose Jaw. The people of Moose Jaw are thrilled to be part of the Warriors' best season ever.

The Warriors are a community owned club and are spurred on by their fantastic fans at home in the “Crushed Can” and on the road. They are the pride of Moose Jaw and a big part of the community spirit that makes Moose Jaw a great city.

With wins over the Brandon Wheat Kings and the Calgary Hitmen, all eyes in Moose Jaw are now focused on winning the eastern conference by defeating the member for Medicine Hat's Tigers and advancing to the WHL final.

On behalf of the people of Palliser, I want to thank Coach Steve Young and his staff, General Manager Chad Lang, President Darin Chow and all the players who have given their all to deliver great hockey and an outstanding year to the people of Moose Jaw.

Go Warriors go. Bring home the Memorial Cup.

Sports and Social AssociationStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, on April 8, the members of the sports and social association known as Les Braves du coin held their 33rd gala to recognize excellence in both sport and volunteerism.

Today I would like to congratulate the gala organizing committee, led by Jean-François Landry, as well as the many volunteers who made the evening such a brilliant success.

Since 1962, Les Braves du coin have been involved in the community, through their big provincial peewee baseball tournament and other events.

Under the leadership of Guy St-Gelais, the group's more than 400 members continue to support young amateur athletes through scholarships that enable them to pursue their athletic undertakings.

Congratulations to all and long live Les Braves du coin.

Jane JacobsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, world-renowned intellectual Jane Jacobs passed away yesterday at the venerable age of 89.

In 1980, this great woman published a book entitled Quebec and the Struggle over Sovereignty. Drawing on the experience of Norway, which separated from Sweden and became a sovereign nation at the beginning of the 20th century, she concluded that we should find inspiration in that event and encourage sovereignty, which would be good for both Quebec and Canada.

She specifically emphasized the importance of Montreal taking on the role of metropolitan centre of a sovereign nation. In an interview with Robin Philpot on May 2, 2005, she expressed regret that the Canadian media refuse to discuss her point of view.

When she published her best-known work on cities in 1961, her peers rejected most of her theses, but today everyone acknowledges that she was correct.

I have no doubt that the true value of her ideas on the future of Quebec will also come to be recognized.

Ms. Jacobs, you have our grateful and heartfelt admiration. We will not forget you.

Child CareStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Olivia Chow NDP Trinity—Spadina, ON

Mr. Speaker, two weeks ago here on Parliament Hill, New Democrats demonstrated the great $1,200 disappearing act. I took a stack of $5 bills and showed the impact of federal clawbacks shrinking the allowance to just $199 for some families. That is just 55¢ a day, not enough for one diaper let alone child care.

Finally, today a headline in the Globe and Mail said it all, “Child care proposal gives least to poorest”. The poorest in this country have faces. They are women and they are children. They need child care, not empty slogans.

Stay at home spouses of wealthy Canadians will get more from this bogus scheme than working couples and single parents struggling to raise their kids.

We can do better. For the sake of our children, we must do better.

Lake SimcoeStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Conservative York—Simcoe, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise to recognize the numerous volunteer organizations that have committed their time and efforts to protecting and enhancing the health of Lake Simcoe's environment.

The Ladies of the Lake, in addition to an eye-catching calendar, have led the way on education efforts. The Rescue Lake Simcoe Coalition has brought diverse groups together to project a united voice calling for action to protect the lake.

The Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority and Foundation has undertaken real world projects to protect the lake's health. The South Lake Simcoe Naturalists' Club and the York-Simcoe Naturalists have also done good work. I have been proud to work with them all.

Yesterday the Lake Simcoe MPs from Barrie, Simcoe North, Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock and I joined forces to put the case to the Minister of Transport on the need for mandatory rules to protect our lakes from the invasive species threat. After 13 years of the Liberal government's refusal to act, it was refreshing to have a minister who cared and is prepared to act to protect the environment.

Working together with local volunteers, I am optimistic we will soon see real results for Lake Simcoe's environment.

FisheriesStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Andy Scott Liberal Fredericton, NB

Mr. Speaker, the government has decided not to honour a commitment made to salmon growers in the province of New Brunswick.

Last July the government announced a $20 million aid package to assist this important industry and make it sustainable for the future. Now, as confirmed yesterday by the fisheries minister, the Conservatives have cut this assistance in half and are reportedly taking the funds from ACOA.

What is most unfortunate is that the regional minister for New Brunswick has suggested that the aid package was not approved by cabinet. This is simply not the case. I would like to thank the hon. member for Halifax West for his work on the file at the cabinet level, where it was in fact approved.

While we stepped up to the plate, Premier Lord's government once again remained on the sidelines, failing to provide the necessary loan guarantees that the industry needed. We were there and were pleased to help salmon farmers, but sadly it is another example of the Lord government abdicating its responsibilities and letting down the people of New Brunswick.

NepalStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai Conservative Calgary East, AB

Mr. Speaker, Canada has been monitoring the volatile situation in Nepal closely throughout this period of unrest and instability.

Most recently, the King delivered a speech calling for the reinstatement of parliament. The opposition parties have agreed that G.P. Koirala should lead a new government.

The Nepalese people have struggled and endured violent repression in their effort to restore democracy to their country. With the return of parliamentary democracy, it is incumbent on Nepal's political parties to work to ensure democratic, honest and accountable governance.

Canada will continue to monitor the situation closely and encourage all sides to restore democracy peacefully and quickly.

World Intellectual Property DayStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Maka Kotto Bloc Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to acknowledge, in this House, World Intellectual Property Day, which this year has adopted the theme of “It starts with an idea”.

Intellectual property refers to creations of the mind, such as inventions, literary and artistic works, and also the symbols, names, images, designs and models used in commerce. Patents, trademarks, copyright, industrial design and protection of crop varieties are all encompassed by the term intellectual property rights.

Intellectual property is everywhere—at home, at school, at work. New products, new trademarks and new creative designs appear virtually every day on the market.

I therefore wish to remind all Quebeckers and all Canadians of the crucial role that is played by creativity and innovation in our lives. Let us above all not forget that “It starts with an idea”!

Jane JacobsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Mike Wallace Conservative Burlington, ON

Mr. Speaker, today we mourn the passing of Jane Jacobs.

Ms. Jacobs, who wrote a number of influential books, including The Death and Life of Great American Cities, spent her life thinking about our cities.

Born in the United States, she chose to spend the last 40 years of her long and productive life in Toronto. In 1996 she received the Order of Canada. Her citation noted, “By stimulating discussion, change and action, she has helped to make Canadian city streets and neighbourhoods vibrant, liveable and workable for all”.

Jane Jacobs challenged us to think about the future of our cities and she is held in high esteem by those throughout the world who care about the people who live there.

Today most Canadians live in cities and communities. On behalf of Canadians, we acknowledge the contribution of this remarkable woman and offer our condolences to her family and her friends.

ChernobylStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Borys Wrzesnewskyj Liberal Etobicoke Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, 20 years ago Chernobyl ignited. The radiation released was 400 times greater than in Hiroshima.

Following the explosion, the communist elites of the Soviet Union secretly removed their families from nearby Kiev and Minsk. Meanwhile, the children of those cities marched in obligatory May Day parades celebrating the grand achievements of communism. In those sun-drenched days as crowds watched and the children marched, within the sun's warm rays hid a terrible fate.

In the years that followed, doctors in Kiev have explained to me that they were instructed not to register stillbirths so as to falsify statistics. I have listened to young women too fearful of bearing new life in this world because their bodies are poisoned. I have held the hands of children, bodies twisted by the radiation.

How many have died? Is it 6,000 or 60,000? Can we quantify the human agony? We cannot, but we can remember and take stock of humanity's failings.

The EnvironmentStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, the hypocrisy from the Liberal environment critic never ceases to amaze me, and after nine years in this place it takes a lot to amaze me. Today he supports the Kyoto accord, but in the past he opposed it and even voted against it. Where I come from, that is called a flip-flop.

As a new supporter of Kyoto, he is now criticizing the government for not implementing the Liberal plan that his government had 13 years to implement. This beacon for the environment, this new-found Liberal apologist, has said that the Kyoto agreement was basically written on the back of an airplane napkin on the way to Kyoto. There was no long term planning. There was no real negotiation with the provinces or with the industry sectors. In fact, it was a last minute, hastily drafted agreement.

This is the granddaddy of all flip-flops, but we should expect nothing less from the master of all flip-floppers.

HaitiStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, on May 14, René Préval will be sworn in as Haiti's new president. The economic hardships and political crises visited upon Haitians have been horrendous, but the Haiti I was privileged to visit on a parliamentary mission this week is charting a new course.

Confidence in the democratic process and appreciation of Canada's contribution were evident. Haitians' hopes and expectations of the new president and parliament are massive, which is why Canada must stay the course in Haiti while respecting Haitians' sovereignty and right to self-determination.

I was deeply impressed by the dedication and confidence of Canadians working with Haitians to build the desperately needed parliamentary, judicial, economic and security infrastructure.

During President Préval's upcoming visit to Canada and our Haitian Canadian Governor General's attendance at his May 14 inauguration, Canadians must seize the opportunity to strengthen our commitment to a mutually respectful and constructive partnership that will truly benefit all Haitian men, women and children.

The EnvironmentStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Hedy Fry Liberal Vancouver Centre, BC

Mr. Speaker, as a member of the House for 13 years, I have listened year after year to the Reform, the Alliance and now the Conservative Party spew its ideologies, first as opposition and now as government.

Nothing has changed. The same ideological resistance to public policy continues under some guise or the other.

Let us take the environment. First they said there was no hard science to support global warming. Now, in the face of indisputable evidence of rising temperatures, shrinking ice caps and scientific reports, the ideology still exists. Opt out of Kyoto, the government says. Let us create a plan for Canada alone.

I have news for the Conservatives. The air, the ocean and the ozone layer did not read their script. They did not know that they had to stop at Canadian borders. Environmental changes are global. They require global solutions and cooperation.

The Prime Minister once suggested building a firewall around his home in Alberta. But around Canada? This is ridiculous.

ChernobylStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, on April 26, 1986, at 1:23 a.m., the alarm sounded in reactor number four of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Ukraine and the world remember.

For 10 days, the explosion cast a radioactive cloud over the heads of more than five million people. This was one of the worst tragedies in human memory. The loss of thousands of human lives, together with the harmful impacts on the physical and psychological health of thousands of others, has highlighted both the fragility and the grandeur of human beings, and is an argument for the zealous protection of our environment.

Today the world commemorates the 20th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear accident. May this sad anniversary remind us of the harrowing choices faced by the world’s leaders with regard to energy policy, as well as the responsibilities that fall to them.

The Bloc Québécois shares the pain of the Ukrainian people and reiterates its commitment to continuing to promote a Quebec that has an environmentally sound energy footing.

National DefenceStatements By Members

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Andrew Telegdi Liberal Kitchener—Waterloo, ON

Mr. Speaker, the decision to send our troops to a combat zone is made in this building. Ultimately it is Parliament that is responsible. It is a disgrace that the flag at the top of this building is not at half-mast as a show of respect for our soldiers who have made the ultimate sacrifice to defend our freedoms.

When we lower the flag, not only do we honour the latest casualties, we remember all our war dead. Lowering the flag is an expression of the appreciation of a grateful nation to those who are serving and those who have served. Remembrance should not be restricted to one day a year.

Further, the new policy to banish the media from the repatriation ceremony of the bodies of our fallen soldiers is a disgrace. I suggest that the new government policies on the flag and repatriation be reversed.

The firefighters, at their convention being held in Ottawa today, had a minute of silence in memory of our fallen soldiers. This sign of respect is being repeated by Canadians from coast to coast to coast.

I suggest that we in this chamber do the same by having a moment of silence in remembrance, gratitude and respect.

Multiple SclerosisStatements By Members

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Casson Conservative Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, multiple sclerosis affects thousands of Canadians and is a disease for which there is presently no cure. Having a daughter with MS, I have witnessed first-hand how this disease knows no bounds as it affects young and old, male and female alike.

I rise today to recognize all the Canadians who have participated before or will be participating in this year's Super Cities Walk for MS. This year over 70,000 Canadians in 160 cities across Canada are taking to the streets to raise money for MS research. I am very honoured to be leading a team in my home riding of Lethbridge.

These Super Cities Walks are more than just an opportunity to raise funds to find a cure for MS. They are about Canadians supporting Canadians by taking the time to walk shoulder to shoulder with those who courageously battle this disease every day.

On the eve of next week's launch of MS Awareness Month, I encourage everyone in this House, indeed everyone from coast to coast to coast, to get involved to help find a cure for MS.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Steckle Liberal Huron—Bruce, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday I presented a motion calling for the Peace Tower flag to be lowered to half-staff for a single day to honour Canadian Forces personnel who are killed while serving on active duty.

Sadly, with the typical commotion that followed question period, I fear the Prime Minister did not hear the wording of that motion. As the Prime Minister has now had time to review Hansard, is his government prepared to return to the practice, unanimously endorsed by the House less than two years ago, and lower our flag as a demonstration of national grief?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member will know that there are families and veterans organizations who have conflicting views, very strong views on this issue. It is not a simple question.

The Minister of National Defence, who is a 30 years veteran of the military, has taken the decision, a decision which tries to balance the interests of public honour and private grief and which tries to ensure that all deaths are treated and honoured equally in this country.

I would suggest that rather than this Parliament focusing on our divisions on flags and coffins that we focus on the fact that we all deeply regret the loss of life in Afghanistan and we admire those who are willing to pay the sacrifice there.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, everyone in this House feels deep regret any time one of our soldiers dies in Afghanistan. Yesterday, a ceremony took place in Trenton to mark the return of the remains of our soldiers. With his customary obstinacy, the Prime Minister decided to keep the media off the tarmac, a decision that overshadowed the solemn ceremony.

The Minister of National Defence now tells us that he did not even consult the families. There is still time for the Prime Minister to make the right decision regarding these ceremonies, a decision that will show respect for our soldiers and the Canadian people.

Mr. Prime Minister, are you prepared to change—

National DefenceOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. Leader of the Opposition knows that he must address his comments to the Speaker and not to the Prime Minister.

The hon. Minister of National Defence has the floor.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, on the matter of repatriating our fallen soldiers, our policy is that members of the press have full access to the ceremonies at the place of origin, which is the ramp in Kandahar. However when the bodies are received at Trenton it is a private ceremony of grief.

After being there yesterday when the four bodies were received and seeing all the families, it is most appropriate that it be a private affair.

On the third stage, when they have funerals and when they have ceremonies members of the press can attend.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I also had the sad honour, privilege and duty to attend at those ceremonies. This is a military ceremony. We have heard from the families of our honoured dead telling us how proud they were to know their country was receiving their sons home. We have heard pleas from family members of our fallen heroes who want to see the ceremony on television. We have heard from military families, Canadians at large and even members of the hon. minister's own caucus telling the Prime Minister that the decision is wrong.

Will the Prime Minister now do the right thing and reverse this highly misguided decision?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, we also hear conflicting advice from people and we understand that there are two sides to the issue. However our policy, to be fair to everyone from now and into the future, is that if members of the press are at the place of origin they can have access and, depending upon the wishes of the family, members of the press can be at the funeral or the ceremonies honouring the dead.

However when the bodies arrive in Trenton it will be a private affair where those families grieve for the first time coming face to face with the bodies of their loved ones.

The BudgetOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, since every economist in the land is against the government's tax plan, it is clear the Conservatives are returning to their roots as incompetent fiscal managers. Since the member for Halton has already told Canadians that only those earning less than $60,000 will face income tax hikes, they are also returning to their roots of fleecing the poor.

Will the budget reflect financial incompetence or reverse Robin Hood behaviour, or both?