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House of Commons Hansard #20 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

1:55 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 a quartet, the hon. members for Abbotsford, Avalon, Brandon—Souris and South Shore—St. Margaret's.

[Members sang the national anthem]

Ron BornStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Ron Cannan Conservative Kelowna—Lake Country, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is a privilege and honour to rise in the House this afternoon to acknowledge Mr. Ron Born, retiring manager for the city of Kelowna.

For 30 years Ron served the city in a number of capacities, most notably the past 18 years as city manager. Under his leadership Kelowna has seen record economic growth and has become one of the jewels of the Okanagan.

In fact, Ron Born's influence is felt province-wide. As a testament to his contribution, Ron will receive the prestigious Lieutenant-Governor's Silver Medal for Excellence in Public Administration, an award made more meaningful because the recipient is selected by his peers.

On behalf of the people of Kelowna and B.C., I wish to thank Ron for 30 years of hard work and commitment, of always conducting yourself with honour and integrity, and for making our city and province the place we are proud to call home.

To Ron, and his wife Leona, we wish him a happy, healthy and well deserved retirement. Here is to plenty of fish on his hook and many moose on the end of his call. God bless.

Hike for HospiceStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Lloyd St. Amand Liberal Brant, ON

Mr. Speaker, on Sunday, May 7, more than 200 members of my community participated in the second annual Hike for Hospice, an event which raised $32,000 for the Stedman Community Hospice located in Brantford, Ontario.

I would like to commend all the staff and volunteers associated with the hospice, especially Executive Director Cheryl Moore, who has dedicated her heart and soul to making the hospice such a wonderful and important resource to members of my community.

I would also like to recognize Constable Cy Villa, the honorary chairman of the event, Olga Consorti of the St. Joseph's Lifecare Foundation for her hard work in promoting and organizing the event, and the Brant Men of Song who provided exquisite entertainment.

The importance of a compassionate, comfortable and supportive palliative environment cannot be overstated. The Stedman Community Hospice is a true blessing to our community.

Small Arms and Light WeaponsStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Johanne Deschamps Bloc Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, this week the 114th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union is being held in Kenya.

Many subjects will be debated there, including environmental management and combating global degradation of the environment, promoting effective ways of combating violence against women, and strengthening the control of trafficking in small arms and light weapons.

Over 600 million small arms and light weapons are now circulating in the world, and a good many of them are being used in the wars raging in Africa, particularly in countries with natural resources such as diamonds and petroleum. These countries do not manufacture weapons. The weapons come from elsewhere, for the sole purpose of supplying these wars.

Oxfam launched a 100-day campaign last March to mobilize against and denounce armed violence in the world. Light weapons kill over 800 persons every day. There is no international agreement to combat the sale of arms.

The federal government must denounce these violations of human rights at the UN summit on small arms and light weapons in June.

Chinese CanadiansStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, between 1885 and 1923 the Canadian government collected $23 million through a head tax on Chinese immigrants to Canada. These racist and discriminatory policies of the past tore families apart and caused incredible financial hardship.

In 1984 Margaret Mitchell was the first MP who brought this issue before the House of Commons. In 2004 Parliament debated my motion asking for an apology and redress for head tax payers, their families and representatives. The NDP has championed this cause from day one.

I recently met with families and representatives in Vancouver who told me once again the importance of fighting this injustice by ensuring there is an official apology and redress for the remaining head tax payers, their spouses and descendants.

The government must do the right thing, and commit to an apology and redress for the thousands of Chinese Canadians who have been waiting so long for this injustice to be amended.

Paul BogeStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Joy Smith Conservative Kildonan—St. Paul, MB

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to congratulate my constituent, Paul Boge, on the upcoming launch of his third book entitled The Cities of Fortune.

Paul Boge is a novelist, filmmaker and practising engineer. His first novel, The Chicago Healer, won the best new Canadian author award. While balancing work and writing, Paul has been active in public speaking and inner city rescue work, and has also taught at an orphanage in Kenya.

Paul is a young, dynamic and talented individual who exemplifies inspiration. His official book signing takes place tomorrow evening in Winnipeg. I would like to offer my congratulations and best wishes to Paul on another successful endeavour.

Citizenship and ImmigrationStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Gurbax Malhi Liberal Bramalea—Gore—Malton, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada should consider granting amnesty and legal status to the estimated over 100,000 undocumented workers currently in Canada who do not have a criminal record.

Canada needs more immigrants and it needs for more immigrants to succeed. We must address the plight of undocumented workers. Canada has more than 100,000 undocumented people who cost the economy billions in unpaid taxes.

They live far from their families and toil in Canada's underground economy, earning sometimes less than the minimum wage as cleaners, nannies, construction workers or other professions. At present, they are being denied basic human rights because of their undocumented status.

I would ask that my colleagues consider the merits of granting legal status to these thousands of undocumented workers and allowing them to adjust their status to “permanent resident”. Immigrant workers contribute greatly to Canada's economy and society. They deserve the basic safety net protections that all other workers enjoy.

Fetal Alcohol SyndromeStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Daryl Kramp Conservative Prince Edward—Hastings, ON

Mr. Speaker, recently I had the pleasure of welcoming a constituent of mine to my Ottawa office. His name is Tom Wilkinson.

Diagnosed with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, FASD, 28 year old Tom has just completed, for the second time, an 812 kilometre walk from Windsor to Ottawa to raise awareness of and funds for the treatment of this devastating condition.

Individuals with FASD live with attention and memory deficits, hyperactivity and poor impulse control. As a result, adults with FASD have difficulty maintaining successful independence. They have trouble in school, keeping jobs or sustaining healthy relationships.

FASD is the leading known cause of mental retardation in Canada. More babies are born with FASD than with Down's syndrome or spina bifida. Most remarkably, it is 100% preventable, simply by abstaining from alcohol during pregnancy.

I am very proud of Tom's accomplishments and thank him for all he has done to bring about greater public awareness of this disorder. Thanks, Tom.

Le Haut-Saint-François NewspaperStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

France Bonsant Bloc Compton—Stanstead, QC

Mr. Speaker, a regional community newspaper in my riding, Le Haut-Saint-François, is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.

Founded in 1986, the newspaper was born of the common desire of all the municipalities in the RCM of Haut-Saint-François to have a regional information vehicle. We owe the paper to a collaborative effort by the area municipalities which, 20 years later, continue voluntarily to support it financially.

Distributed free of charge twice a month to every household in the RCM, this newspaper is recognized for the quality of its information. Over the years, its team has won many awards from the Quebec community newspaper association. This determination typical of the region's people .

The Bloc Québécois wishes a long life to Le Haut-Saint-François newspaper.

AnniversaryStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Fabian Manning Conservative Avalon, NL

Mr. Speaker, every now and then, an event will take place that requires special recognition. One of those events happened a few days ago in the community of Branch, St. Mary's Bay, located on the southern tip of the Avalon Peninsula in Newfoundland and Labrador.

On April 28, Austin and Agatha Nash of Branch celebrated their 64th wedding anniversary, a tremendous milestone that I want to share with hon. members here today and the people of Canada.

Married in their home community 64 years ago, Austin and Agatha still reside in Branch surrounded by family and friends. I would like to extend my best wishes to them on this magnificent occasion.

I have known both these people all of my life and can attest to their love for each other and their devotion to their family and community. Two finer people one could never meet. God willing, we all look forward to joining them in celebrating their 65th in 2007.

I ask all members to join with me today in congratulating Austin and Agatha Nash of Branch on their 64th wedding anniversary. May they enjoy health and happiness in the days ahead.

MaplehurstStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

John Maloney Liberal Welland, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to recognize the designation, under the Ontario Heritage Act, of Maplehurst located at 14 St. David's Road West in Thorold, Ontario.

Built in 1885 by Hugh Keefer, Maplehurst has long been a landmark in Thorold and a source of pride to the community. Located at a high elevation providing excellent views of the Welland Canal and surrounding areas, it boasts many significant architectural features.

On the exterior its Richardson Romanesque style, iron cresting, stone chimneys, double hung wood windows and gable decorative barge boards are all impressive architectural features. I especially like the wraparound porch. In addition, the interior features the skylit former billiards room in the roof space on the third floor and a unique stairwell to the roof deck. It is truly a classic building.

The fact that Maplehurst is the home of one of Thorold's founding families and its connection to the development of the Welland Canal solidify its position as an important part of Thorold's heritage.

I compliment Heritage Thorold LACAC and Keefer Developments for their continued interest in the history and architecture of our region. Maplehurst will continue to be a destination place in the future for generations to come.

Atlantic AccordStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, just last week I stood in the House and spoke of how a Liberal MP was suffering from amnesia. It looks like it is contagious. All the Liberal members are infected.

The hon. member for Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor is now trying to claim that the Conservative government is somehow a threat to the Atlantic accord. Imagine that, threatening the Atlantic accord which we created, developed and forced the Liberals to implement.

It is the same member who felt his own Liberal Party was a threat to the Atlantic accord. He voted in favour of a Conservative motion to condemn the Liberals for their failure to implement it.

The Conservative Party created and supported the Atlantic accord, and all the amnesia in the world will not make that go away.

National Elizabeth Fry WeekStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to publicly acknowledge the fact that this is National Elizabeth Fry Week and to celebrate the significant contribution the Elizabeth Fry Society and its volunteers make to the lives of women who have come in conflict with the law.

The theme this year is “Women in Community”. Events are taking place across Canada to raise awareness for change in the way our criminal justice system treats women.

In Winnipeg I will be participating in the Missing Women Walk organized by Sisters in Spirit to bring attention to the 500 women currently missing in Canada.

Sisters in Spirit is itself a powerful witness to the strength of community and the refusal of women to be victimized by the inadequacies and biases of the system as it exists, a system in which aboriginal women are disproportionately high in numbers and more likely to serve time in prison.

National Elizabeth Fry Week affords us the chance to learn more, understand better and demand answers about a system geared more to building walls than building communities. I urge all Canadians to support the Elizabeth Fry Society's work this week and throughout the year.

Baddeck AcademyStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Eyking Liberal Sydney—Victoria, NS

Mr. Speaker, as many of my colleagues know, my riding has some of the most beautiful landscape in this country.

At the start of the Cabot Trail nestled on the Bras d'Or lakes is the much admired village of Baddeck. Baddeck is the site of the first flight in the British Empire. This happened when Alexander Graham Bell flew the Silver Dart almost 100 years ago.

Today we have students with us from Baddeck Academy who live in various parts of Victoria County. Under the leadership of Jerry McNeil, they have come to Ottawa not only to see the beautiful tulip festival and landmarks, but also to learn and understand how the parliamentary system and government works. When they return to Baddeck, they will be relating their experiences to their fellow students and families.

My understand from speaking with the students is that so far, their mission has been successful.

I ask my colleagues in the House to welcome my fellow Cape Bretoners and wish them success in the rest of their journey.

AlcanStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Bouchard Bloc Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

Mr. Speaker, on April 27, 2006, I attended Alcan's annual general meeting, during which I spoke with the president, Mr. Richard Evans, who appeared very optimistic about the future of the Jonquière industrial complex.

Yet, Alcan announced yesterday that it is closing the chemical and alumina plant, as well as laboratory 109, which together employed 85 employees. This change of attitude on the part of the aluminum giant surprises me.

I would remind the House that Alcan employees wish to cooperate with the company to find solutions. Furthermore, a regional survey indicates that the public is asking Alcan to create jobs in exchange for additional energy.

Alcan uses our energy resources extensively and has a social contract with the Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean region. This is why it must take concrete and positive measures to reaffirm its commitment to our citizens. The economic future of our region is at stake, as is respect for the people who work and live there.

Fetal Alcohol SyndromeStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, maternal consumption of alcohol during pregnancy is the leading known cause of mental illness in Canada. Fetal alcohol syndrome and other alcohol related birth defects are incurable but are 100% preventable.

Today a young man, Tom Wilkinson, is visiting Parliament Hill. Tom suffers from fetal alcohol syndrome. He and his dog, Shadow, just completed an 812 kilometre walk from Windsor, Ontario to Ottawa to promote public awareness of the risks associated with alcohol consumption, especially during the early stages of pregnancy. Having shared his message with 23 cities during his walk, Tom has done his part.

Today I call upon the national media to do its part and to share Tom's story and message with the people of Canada. I am also sure that all hon. members will want to rise to join me today in acknowledging Tom Wilkinson for his courageous initiative to prevent fetal alcohol syndrome.

We thank Tom. We are all very proud of him.

Research and DevelopmentStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Dave Batters Conservative Palliser, SK

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the member for Etobicoke--Lakeshore stood in the House and pretended that he was interested in research and development in Canada. The member has been out of the country for the past 30 years, which might explain his lack of understanding about what the Liberals have done, or more accurately have not done, for research and development in the past 13 of those years. Here is a quick refresher.

The Liberals broke their 1993 red book promise to double research and development. Instead, the Liberals cut spending on science and technology. Under the Liberals, Canada's productivity growth lagged behind that of our largest competitor. Liberals also cut funding for education. They cut social transfers to the provinces by $25 billion. Liberals starved the Canadian post-secondary education system of much needed resources, resulting in the doubling of tuition fees.

This Conservative government is committed to research and education. Maybe the member for Etobicoke--Lakeshore should have taken a lesson in Liberal history before he signed on.

Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Standing CommitteeOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the bizarre saga of the member for Saskatoon—Wanuskewin continues to trouble Canadians. Today he issued a rambling self-congratulatory exculpatory and somewhat ambiguous statement.

Will the Prime Minister finally put closure to this unfortunate affair and confirm to the House and to Canadians that the member will no longer serve as the chair of the aboriginal affairs committee, or for that matter any, other committee of this honourable House?

Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Standing CommitteeOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, every day the Leader of the Opposition has a different position on whether I should appoint chairs of committees or I should not appoint chairs of committees.

The fact of the matter is that the hon. member for Saskatoon—Wanuskewin has decided himself to step aside as chair of the committee. I have not actually read the resignation letter but I gather his view was that the committee and the opposition members on the committee should not be fighting over the chairmanship, that they should be working on aboriginal issues.

Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Standing CommitteeOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, all hon. members can understand why the Prime Minister is trying to distance himself from this matter. This issue has now far surpassed the matter of the member for Saskatoon—Wanuskewin. It is now the credibility of the office of the prime ministership that is in question.

Why did it take the condemnation of the Canadian Bar Association, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, aboriginal leaders and a host of other Canadians to get the Prime Minister and the member to act in the best interests of Canada?

Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Standing CommitteeOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

All I can say, Mr. Speaker, is obviously if the Leader of the Opposition believes someone with the views on judicial activism of the member for Saskatoon—Wanuskewin should not chair a parliamentary committee, surely he also believes they should not be senior critics in his own caucus.

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Commissioner of Official Languages expressed her fears yesterday. She stated that she has serious doubts about the will of the government to respect the bilingualism policy. The Speech from the Throne and the budget provided no reassurance. The Prime Minister has often expressed his reservations with regard to bilingualism, and it is clear that it is not a priority for his government.

Can the Prime Minister tell this House whether or not he intends to respect the bilingual nature of this country and accept the recommendations of the Official Languages Commissioner?

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I can quote from a letter that the Official Languages Commissioner wrote to me after the election:

During your campaign, and in your election platform, you set forth your commitment to protecting and promoting official languages and seeing that English and French have equal status in all the institutions of Parliament and in the government. Your party also supported Bill S-3 amending the Official Languages Act, and for that I would like to congratulate you.

That is the opinion of the Official Languages Commissioner. Yes, we support official languages as well as a formal and direct role for Quebec in UNESCO.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would have liked to see the date on the letter the Prime Minister just mentioned.

Yesterday, the Minister of the Environment said in this House that countries that did not sign the Kyoto protocol were responsible for 73% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions. But in order for the Kyoto protocol to come into effect, the signatories had to be responsible for more than 55% of emissions. With the addition of Russia, they account for 61%.

Can the minister simply explain to us how she reached the conclusion that 100% minus 61% equals 73%?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Edmonton—Spruce Grove Alberta

Conservative

Rona Ambrose ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, what I was referring to is the number of countries globally that do not have commitments to reduce greenhouse gases.

Within the Kyoto protocol, the specific countries that Canada is concerned about are China and India. China and India within the Kyoto protocol's members are considered developing countries, but as all of us in this chamber know, China and India have booming economies. Today we learned that China and India alone have increased global emissions by 15% in just a short decade. This is a grave concern to us. We think China and India should take on commitments.