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House of Commons Hansard #3 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was quebec.

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 Bruce--Grey--Owen Sound.

[Members sang the national anthem]

AgricultureStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Lynne Yelich Conservative Blackstrap, SK

Mr. Speaker, no one works harder than our agricultural producers. Today, these producers are rallying on Parliament Hill to demand action on the farm income situation. The government is listening.

Over the last six weeks the Minister of Agriculture has travelled across Canada to hear about the desperate financial situation facing farmers. That is why the first thing we did as a government was send out payments under the grains and oilseeds payment program. So far, more than 73,000 cheques totalling nearly $400 million have gone out to producers.

Additionally, we are committed to replacing CAIS with separate income stabilization and disaster relief programs that are simpler, more responsive and bankable. Until then, we will change CAIS to better suit the needs of producers. Plus, we have committed a further $2.5 billion in the next five years for our producers.

We will continue to show our commitment to farmers by creating an economic climate rewarding hard work and innovation. Farmers are our people and we are going to support them.

Paul DavisStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, I often speak about the great honour accorded me to represent a riding with a large military population. Today, as our men and women undertake a dangerous mission in Afghanistan, we are more mindful than ever of the sacrifices they make on our behalf. When a life is lost in the pursuit of peace, we all feel that loss.

No one feels that loss more profoundly than the family members of these heroes. On March 2, Corporal Paul Davis was killed while on patrol outside Kandahar. Shortly after hearing the devastating news, I spoke with his father, my good friend Jim Davis, of Bridgewater. In spite of his grief, he affirmed his absolute commitment to and support of our mission in Afghanistan and our military personnel on the ground. He addressed them the same day of his son's death saying, “I want them to know I'm 100% behind all of them”.

These words of a grieving father remind us that the men and women of our armed forces stand up for us and that we should stand up for them and support their work to build a better and more peaceful world.

Canadian Troops in AfghanistanStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is with deep sorrow that we have learned of the deaths of Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan.

These soldiers were participating in the reconstruction of Afghanistan, a country that has suffered greatly and now seeks peace and democracy.

The Bloc Québécois offers its condolences to the wives, children, parents and friends of the men killed during this mission.

The Bloc Québécois salutes the men and women who are still deployed there and urges the Prime Minister to allow a debate in the House of Commons about the Canadian mission in Afghanistan. Citizens have the right to know the details of this mission so they can better support the soldiers who are putting their lives in danger there.

Child Tax BenefitStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, there has been a disturbing increase in the number of women coming into my constituency office who have been abruptly cut off their child tax benefits. These women depend on this money to feed, clothe and house their children.

They are accused of lying and their private lives are placed under a microscope. They must find three separate individuals who will attest to their living situations, in some cases going back as far as two years. For women living in already difficult situations, this is not always possible, and it is demeaning to have one's private life on display to outsiders.

These women are often struggling. Some come from abusive relationships and are forced to seek proof from sometimes uncooperative spouses. To make matters worse, not only have they been cut off from critical income, but they are also being told to repay upwards of $4,000 to the government if they cannot prove they lived alone with their children.

Single, hard-working parents do not deserve this kind of treatment from their government.

Conservative Party of CanadaStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Jim Abbott Conservative Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Mr. Speaker, on January 23 the Conservative Party of Canada was given the responsibility of bringing Canadians' voices to Ottawa.

Canadians wanted a voice in Parliament for accountability, so we will table the accountability act, bringing an end to the culture of entitlement.

Taxpayers wanted a voice in Ottawa. We will cut the GST, putting more money in their pockets.

Law-abiding citizens have a voice in Ottawa now because Conservatives will crack down on crime and enact new, tougher bail and parole laws.

Families will have a voice in Ottawa. We will establish a child care support program that trusts parents with the best interests of their children.

Canadians demanding better access to health care will see our Conservative Prime Minister, in cooperation with the premiers, cutting down on health care waiting times.

Since 1993 it has been my privilege to represent the values of Kootenay—Columbia residents in Ottawa. I want to take this opportunity to thank my constituents and to affirm my commitment to be their voice in Ottawa in this 39th Parliament.

Young CanadiansStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Jean-Claude D'Amours Liberal Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to address the House today in recognition of some young students in my constituency.

On March 27, 2006, I was invited to speak with two sixth-grade classes at the Ecole Saint-Jacques as part of their social sciences unit. During my visit, the young students asked me many questions about the life and role of a member of Parliament.

I was asked many questions, all of them very interesting. This experience also showed me that we must spend time with our youth.

Indeed, Mr. Speaker, today's youth have many questions to ask, but rarely do they receive any answers. It is our duty to take the time to speak with the young people of our society and answer their questions, for they are our future.

Once again, I would like to thank all of the students and both teachers, Martine Martin and Michelle Gaumont, for their warm welcome. As I indicated to them, I am always willing to meet with school groups.

AgricultureStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Kevin Sorenson Conservative Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative Party of Canada stands up for farmers and has committed to take action to secure a prosperous future for Canadian agriculture following years of Liberal neglect.

Canada's grain and oilseed producers are globally integrated and rely primarily on export markets. These producers are vulnerable to international trade and science based regulation pressures. The Grain Growers of Canada will be in Ottawa from April 10 to 12. I encourage all members to meet with them. Grain and oilseed producers want to discuss their priority issues with Canada's elected representatives, including the need to foster a renewable energy sector in Canada.

Canadians want their own long term, economically viable and sustainable grain and oilseed sector. We also want the value added sectors that rely on Canadian grains and oilseeds. The Conservative Party of Canada is proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with our Canadian farmers.

Pauline MaroisStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Caroline St-Hilaire Bloc Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, QC

Mr. Speaker, Quebec, and in particular the provincial riding of Taillon, recently turned an important page in its history.

Pauline Marois announced that she was retiring from political life, but her story will remain etched in our collective memory because of her contribution to the development of Quebec society during her prolific political career.

Pauline Marois will be remembered not only for her convictions, but for her intellect and her dedication to democratic values.

I had the privilege of working with this consummate politician. For women of my generation, Pauline Marois represents everything a woman can achieve. She has been an inspiration to me throughout my political career. Her unfailing commitment to Quebec, her great talent as an educator and her contribution to feminism in Quebec will serve as an example for me throughout my life.

On behalf of my Bloc Québécois colleagues, I pay tribute to Pauline Marois, a great woman, and wish her all the best in the future.

Conservative GovernmentStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Daniel Petit Conservative Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Mr. Speaker, after years of Liberal corruption, which threatened unity in Quebec , it is good to have a truly federalist government in Ottawa, a government that understands the importance of being open to Quebec, a government that really wants to work with the province.

The Prime Minister has already taken major steps by announcing that Quebec will have a seat at UNESCO and will participate in decision-making regarding our language and our culture. He has undertaken to deal with the fiscal imbalance faced by several provinces, including Quebec. This will allow Quebec to ensure its growth and prosperity.

Whereas the approach of the Liberal government to federalism was characterized by secret agreements, bribes and money slipped into envelopes, the approach of the present Prime Minister is distinguished by his efforts to achieve transparency and accountability.

With this government and this Prime Minister, Quebec will be integrated, its voice heard and its population united.

Canadian Armed Forces Encouragement DayStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Dan McTeague Liberal Pickering—Scarborough East, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to recognize Auriele Diotte, a grade 8 student at Holy Redeemer Catholic School in Pickering, Ontario, for her thoughtful and heartfelt idea to create Canadian Armed Forces Encouragement Day, or as it is known by its acronym, C.A.F.É. Day.

Auriele hopes that by the first day of spring each year, grade 8 students across Canada will have assembled photos and words of encouragement inside a special scrapbook to send to members of the Canadian armed forces who are serving our country overseas.

In Auriele's own words, C.A.F.É. Day will enable younger generations of Canadians to come together to appreciate and thank our service men and women who regularly make tremendous sacrifices each and every day while placing their own lives at risk.

Auriele has received considerable support for her initiative. I know members of this House will agree that her efforts are to be encouraged as they show once again the gratitude, respect and appreciation that all Canadians, including our youth, have for the dedication and work of our soldiers both here and abroad.

Congratulations, Auriele. Best wishes for a very successful C.A.F.É. Day 2006.

Speech from the ThroneStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Joe Preston Conservative Elgin—Middlesex—London, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to applaud the Prime Minister for his vision that was laid out in yesterday's Speech from the Throne.

The Prime Minister has been consistent in presenting the five priorities of the Conservative government. The previous prime minister tried to be all things to all people. In one throne speech he made 56 promises, but kept few. Our government would rather keep five promises than break 56.

Under this government, Canadians will see guaranteed wait times, ensuring all Canadians get access to timely health care when they need it.

Canadian parents will receive true choice in child care with a $1,200 a year allowance. Unlike the Liberals' institutional day care scheme, we believe parents should have a choice in who raises their children.

Canadians will be able to feel safe in their communities. We will invest in front line police officers instead of a gun registry that targets duck hunters.

We will lower the GST and put Canadians' hard-earned money back in their pockets

We will introduce the federal accountability act. After 13 years of Liberal waste and corruption--

Speech from the ThroneStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for British Columbia Southern Interior.

AgricultureStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Alex Atamanenko NDP British Columbia Southern Interior, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have just listened for a while to the farmers who are presently in front of the Parliament Buildings.

They are protesting, and rightly so, the fact that farmers across Canada cannot make ends meet.

I am encouraged by the statement of the hon. Minister of Agriculture this morning specifically on the need to the replace CAIS, but we need help now.

In my riding our apple growers are suffering because heavily subsidized apples from Washington State are being dumped in British Columbia. If we do not address the apple growers' concerns and those of other primary producers, we will soon be a nation which will lose its food security.

With regard to negotiations with the WTO, one of Canada's priorities must be to maintain our supply management program. Our independence is at stake.

AgricultureStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Steckle Liberal Huron—Bruce, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday's throne speech outlining the government's priorities contained 2,449 words. Agriculture, Canada's second largest industry, was allocated a meagre 72. That constitutes a paltry 3% of the government's focus, and that level was only attained when pooled with aquaculture.

Clearly, 3% is unacceptable. Agriculture was already excluded from the Prime Minister's five top priorities list and now it has been relegated to less than 3% of the total agenda. Our farmers are in dire straits and they need our help. To survive, farmers need more than 3% of the government's attention.

Regardless of the amount of ink used in the throne speech, farmers are here in Ottawa today to tell the government that the ink they see is red. They are asking for a public investment in food security, risk management programs that protect against income loss. Most of all, they are asking the government to give to farmers what farmers give to Canadians each and every day: 100%.

AgricultureStatements By Members

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Bouchard Bloc Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

Mr. Speaker, some one hundred farmers came to Parliament Hill today from the Saguenay--Lac-St-Jean region to protest the Conservative government's inaction in the farm income crisis and in the case of supply management.

The decision by the Federal Court of Appeal to open the door to imports of milk protein concentrate will no doubt mean a significant loss of markets for dairy producers. This in turn will threaten thousands of jobs, not only in the Saguenay--Lac-St-Jean region, but throughout Quebec. I would remind you that Quebec produces nearly 40% of Canada's milk.

The riding of Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, like the entire Saguenay--Lac-St-Jean region, has already been hit hard by the softwood lumber crisis and by plant closures.

I urge the federal government to act quickly to avoid another crisis that could hurt thousands of farm producers and their families.

Robert CostallStatements By Members

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Ken Boshcoff Liberal Thunder Bay—Rainy River, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to Private Robert Costall who was killed in combat in Afghanistan last week.

Private Costall was born in Thunder Bay and moved with his family to Gibsons Landing, British Columbia at the age of seven. At age 19 he returned to Thunder Bay to live with his grandmother. Shortly thereafter he visited the Canadian Forces recruiting office to offer himself for military service.

When Private Costall was called to serve Canada, he found himself in a foreign land of chaos and despair. His duty was to help the besieged people of Afghanistan in their quest to realize the comfort, safety and freedom that he himself had been blessed with.

He died in the grandest of causes for the simplest of things: the ability to live without fear and without desolation. He died to help the Afghani people to be able to live in peace.

For his courage and dedication, we offer our thanks. We pray, along with his wife, child and other family members, that he will rest in peace.

Cornwall Collegiate and Vocational SchoolStatements By Members

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

Guy Lauzon Conservative Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry, ON

Mr. Speaker, this year the Cornwall Collegiate and Vocational School in my riding of Stormont--Dundas--South Glengarry will celebrate 200 years of providing quality education to the youth of the Cornwall area, making it the longest serving high school in Upper Canada.

To mark this monumental achievement, CCVS will host a reunion from Friday, June 30 to Sunday, July 2, 2006. As a former student of CCVS myself, I am proud to attend this event. I invite all alumni of CCVS to attend, to volunteer and to spread the word to former classmates and faculty. Registration can be done online at www.ccvs200.ca or phone 613-932-8360.

I look forward to getting together with friends old and new to celebrate Ontario's 200 years of public primary and secondary education. I am proud that it all started in Cornwall.

AgricultureOral Questions

April 5th, 2006 / 2:20 p.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the government presented its Speech from the Throne, a somewhat thin document that is short on promise and even shorter on specifics. The throne speech is notable really for what it does not include: education and training, early childhood and development, infrastructure or support for cities, aboriginal Canadians, social housing, arts and culture, and other important issues. But as was noted by the member for Huron—Bruce just now, most shockingly is that our farm families face a crisis this spring. This is a throne speech that found barely any time for agriculture.

My question is for the Prime Minister. Why is the state of agriculture in our country not one of his government's five priorities?

AgricultureOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, let me begin by not just congratulating the Leader of the Opposition on his re-election but by acknowledging his long and outstanding public and parliamentary career, and noting that he is very worthy of the honour bestowed on him by his party of being Leader of the Opposition.

The first act of the government was to release three quarters of a billion dollars the previous government had been sitting on that was going directly to farmers. This is more than the previous government did in its entire 13 years in office.

AgricultureOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I thank the Prime Minister for his response. As we say in English, a soft answer turneth away wrath. Still, I cannot accept his answer that the funding given to farmers under our administration was nothing more than a policy to recognize the problems facing farmers and farming in Canada.

Will the Prime Minister commit to making agriculture one of his government's top priorities?

AgricultureOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition says that the former Liberal government promised to spend this money. The former Liberal government promised to do a lot of things, but this government intends to honour its commitments. We have provided this money.

AgricultureOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, if that were satisfactory to the farmers who are outside our House today demonstrating their discontent and their concern about their future, I think they would have been happy with that answer, but they are not and neither are we.

The government has no concrete answer for agriculture and our farmers need assistance today. Will it listen to our concerns and the concerns of farmers and commit now to providing our farmers and their families the money they need today, so they can put seeds in the ground this spring and--

AgricultureOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The right hon. Prime Minister.

AgricultureOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I and the government are the first to acknowledge that the problems of agriculture in this country are very serious. They are going to require short term action on the part of the government with the promises we made in our campaign which will be forthcoming. They will also require further work on a long term vision. I remind members that we would not be in this state today had we not had 13 years of neglect and ignoring the agricultural industry.