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House of Commons Hansard #30 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was sentence.

Topics

Cultural DiversityOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Bev Oda ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, I want to be clear to the House and to all Canadians. The government has supported in the past and will continue to support the UNESCO declaration for the maintenance of diversity in cultural expression.

I am proud to say that I have met with the Coalition for Cultural Diversity and we have just authorized more funding so it can continue the work. As well, I will do what I can with the other countries as I meet them.

AfghanistanOral Questions

May 31st, 2006 / 2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Bloc La Pointe-de-l'Île, QC

Mr. Speaker, General Gauthier says that Canadian soldiers serving in Afghanistan do not have to follow the Geneva Convention with respect to individuals who are taken prisoner because the conflict in Afghanistan is not—or is no longer—the result of a state of war between conflicting nations.

Can the Minister of Defence guarantee that Afghan combatants who are taken prisoner will receive the same treatment they would have been entitled to as prisoners of war?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, that is a standard procedure for our military no matter what operation it is on throughout the planet. When it takes prisoners, it will always follow the rules of the Geneva Convention. There is no lower standard than that. That is in every case whether the operation is under the Geneva Convention or not.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Bloc La Pointe-de-l'Île, QC

Mr. Speaker, under these conditions, can the minister explain why Canada did not follow Holland's example and sign an agreement with the Afghan government to allow continued contact with prisoners for constant information on their fate? What is the government waiting for to renegotiate this agreement?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the agreement we had with the Afghan government fulfills the needs that we have from the point of view of security of the prisoners. The Red Cross or the Red Crescent is responsible to supervise their treatment once the prisoners are in the hands of the Afghan authorities. If there is something wrong with their treatment, the Red Cross or Red Crescent would inform us and we would take action.

Canada-U.S. BorderOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, every year the largest minor hockey tournament in the world takes place in Quebec City.

Teams from across the United States take part in this peewee tournament. Now it is up to young Quebeckers to fight the passport issue on their own. The Minister for la Francophonie, who is a member for Quebec City, could not care less about them.

Why should our young hockey players and Canadian minor hockey fans have to count on the American Senate rather than the Conservative government and the member for Quebec City?

Canada-U.S. BorderOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, it does not seem to matter how we say it or to whom we say it on the Liberal side, they just do not understand. They do not understand how many people we have engaged to work on this issue. They do not understand.

I am pleased to tell Canadians that they can cross the border right now without a passport if they have their driver's licence and some other document. Alternative documents are also going to be acceptable. We are already seeing at the senate and now in the White House that it looks like there could even be a deferral from the date of 2008 on this issue. I wish the Liberals would pay attention and help us get the message out too.

Canada-U.S. BorderOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, no matter how hard I pay attention and listen, I cannot hear any answers.

This tournament, the largest in the world, attracts over 200,000 fans every year. With the Quebec Winter Carnival, this tournament makes Quebec City a winter tourist destination par excellence. The economic benefits from these two events are huge, but the Conservatives and the Conservative members from Quebec City do not care.

Why should Quebeckers have to rely on the Americans instead of the Conservatives to protect the tourism industry in Quebec City?

Canada-U.S. BorderOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, this tournament will continue, and I hope the Canadian teams will win.

It is important to realize that we are not just concerned about passports. We have done other things. For example, we have made large grants to the Quebec City airport.

This is but one example among many others, showing that the government is prepared to support tourism in Quebec and across Canada.

Canada-U.S. BorderOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

John Maloney Liberal Welland, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government has abandoned Canadians to fend for themselves on passport requirements by the U.S. The government does not appreciate the integration of Canada and U.S. border communities. We never consider the border to be an obstacle when deciding where to work, go for lunch, visit friends, or enjoy culture and recreation. Not only is this a way of life for Niagara region and western New York residents, it is the cornerstone of our local economies.

The real work of finding solutions and lobbying is coming from everyone but the government. Why is it being left up to governors, provinces and our mayors to stand up for Canadian border communities?

Canada-U.S. BorderOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, I am delighted again to explain that our Prime Minister made this issue a priority at Cancun. For two years the Liberal regime had absolutely ignored it. Now we have an agreement with the Americans that alternative documents will be acceptable for Canadians. We are working on those standards right now.

I have some good news for the Liberals and all Canadians. One of the very successful programs called NEXUS, which facilitates travel and business and tourism back and forth across the border, has already been accepted as an acceptable alternative and there is more to come. I cannot wait for the questions.

Canada-U.S. BorderOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

John Maloney Liberal Welland, ON

Mr. Speaker, let us not forget the Prime Minister's position in Cancun when he said it was a done deal and we should live with it.

The busiest land crossings between Canada and the U.S. are in southern Ontario: the Ambassador Bridge in Windsor, the Peace Bridge in Fort Erie, the Blue Water Bridge in Sarnia, and the Queenston-Lewiston Bridge at Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Why is the government leaving it to the chambers of commerce in the United States and the Canadian Tourism Commission to fight for Canadian interests on cross-border travel? Why does it not stand up for Canada?

Canada-U.S. BorderOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to speak about some other programs that have already been negotiated and are working well in terms of cross-border travel.

I wonder if the member realizes that there are 65,000 truckers in this country who have the ability to cross the border rapidly because of the adoption of a program which has been accepted by the United States.

I wonder if the member is aware that not only in the senate in the United States and not only in the department of homeland security but now we are hearing from the White House itself that this program is problematic in the United States, as our Prime Minister has indicated. The Americans are working with us and we with them to solve the problem and we are making headway.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Fabian Manning Conservative Avalon, NL

Mr. Speaker, a pilot project extending employment insurance expires on June 4. This project extended EI benefits an additional five weeks in areas where the unemployment rate was over 10%. This is a very important issue in my riding of Avalon and throughout our country. This program is used by many workers and they are wondering about the fate of the program.

Can the minister tell the House what decision the government has made regarding this pilot project?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Blackstrap Saskatchewan

Conservative

Lynne Yelich ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, the minister has asked me to inform the House that EI pilot project No. 6 will expire June 4 and will be replaced by an increased week of employment insurance benefits pilot project for a period of 18 months. This is good news for seasonal workers and--

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear!

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order, please. The honourable member for Windsor West.

Tourism IndustryOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate the government for once again following the advice of the NDP.

I agree with the Conservatives that the Liberals did nothing with regard to the passport laws and the WHTI. I agree with that.

However, what I cannot agree with is that if this is a strategy, it is not enough of a strategy as Canadian jobs and tourism are being put at risk right now. Five studies have shown the injurious effect and it is happening now.

Why has the minister responsible for tourism not stood in this chamber and outlined his plan to deal with this issue, and what is the Prime Minister going to give the premiers today in terms of an official strategy?

Tourism IndustryOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, my colleagues and I recall that when we were in the opposition and we raised this issue, the Liberals were absolutely inactive on this file. We brought it to a debate in the House and our Prime Minister has made it a priority.

We hear the broken record that is coming from the Liberals now being picked up by the NDP and here is why we hear that broken record. The Liberals did not just break the record in terms of non-action. They broke faith with Canadians in not taking action on this file.

We have taken action. We have made it a priority. There is great progress and we are delighted that the premiers, the mayors, the governors, and the congressmen in the United States are all involved.

Tourism IndustryOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

Mr. Speaker, in a previous question in this chamber, I asked the Prime Minister about this issue and he asked the NDP for ideas. We did so. We have a national tourism strategy that affects Canadian jobs right now by putting in investment to combat this issue.

Why will the Minister of Industry not get up and answer a question on this issue as he is the responsible member for tourism? Where is he? Where is the plan? Table it in the House of Commons right now.

Tourism IndustryOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Beauce Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased--

Tourism IndustryOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Tourism IndustryOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order, please. The hon. member for Windsor West is not going to be able to hear a word from the minister unless there is some order in the chamber. The minister has the floor to answer.

Tourism IndustryOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Maxime Bernier Conservative Beauce, QC

Mr. Speaker, as my honourable colleague knows, if he read the latest budget from the new Conservative government carefully, he should know that we have invested $303 million in the tourism industry. This is a lot more than was allocated in the previous Liberal Party budget.

What I would like to say to him is that the Canadian Tourism Commission is currently working on the development of an action plan to promote tourism throughout Canada, both foreign and Canadian, in preparation for the 2010 Olympics.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

John Godfrey Liberal Don Valley West, ON

Mr. Speaker, on April 26 the Minister of the Environment said, “We've been looking at the Asia-Pacific partnership for a number of months now”, but yesterday I had to point out to her that the Republican dominated House of Representatives had just terminated all funding, $46 million, for the Asia-Pacific partnership. The Americans have abandoned AP6, just as surely as the government has abandoned Canadians in the fight against global warming.

Having had 24 hours to reflect, does the minister still think Canada should align itself with an American inspired organization which has just lost all American funding?