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House of Commons Hansard #32 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was sentence.

Topics

Workplace Health and SafetyStatements By Members

11 a.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the health of most citizens in this country is protected by health and safety rights in the workplace. Sadly, this is not the case for those who work right here on Parliament Hill.

Instead, their basic rights are denied and they are essentially treated as second class citizens. Since there are no health and safety laws, workers cannot actively participate in the prevention of workplace accidents. No law means that workers cannot exercise their right to refuse dangerous work.

Over 20 years ago the government finally legislated a labour law known as the Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act to protect its own employees. However, no government since has been willing to enact the law.

It is time to protect workers here who work to serve Parliament. They deserve the same protections that are afforded workers in all other sectors.

Human RightsStatements By Members

11 a.m.

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai Conservative Calgary East, AB

Mr. Speaker, we learn with great disappointment that the military-led government of Burma has again extended the term of detention for Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi. This brave lady has now spent 10 of the past 16 years under house arrest.

Canada strongly condemns the renewed detention order against her. This act shows the Burmese government's callous disregard for fundamental freedoms, democracy and human rights. We call upon the Burmese regime to immediately release Aung San Suu Kyi and work toward an enduring and lasting peace.

The Burmese people have suffered for too long. Universal condemnation has not produced any results. It is therefore time for the UN Security Council to become involved.

Grant Forest ProductsStatements By Members

11 a.m.

Liberal

Anthony Rota Liberal Nipissing—Timiskaming, ON

Mr. Speaker, since 1981 Peter Grant has done a remarkable job at building Grant Forest Products to an industry leader and innovator.

When the Grant Forest Products' Englehart operation produced its first panel of waferboard on December 10, 1981, no one could have imagined or predicted that the company would grow to the size and the scope it is today. Since that time, Grant Forest Products has truly emerged as a made in Canada success story and leader in the forestry sector.

Furthermore, by supporting local arts and amateur sports throughout Nipissing--Timiskaming and northern Ontario as a whole, literally thousands of people have benefited from Peter Grant's generosity. His passion for forestry and dedication to the north are clearly evident in all that Peter does.

As the member of Parliament for Nipissing--Timiskaming, I am proud to have Peter Grant as one of my constituents.

On behalf of hon. members I wish to congratulate Mr. Peter Grant on 25 years in business and wish him continued success well into the future. Well done, Peter. Keep up the good work.

Quebec CityStatements By Members

11 a.m.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the citizens of my riding, Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, I would especially like to thank our Prime Minister for his openness toward and respect for Quebec City. We finally have a government that takes the interests of Canadians to heart.

By giving Quebec City, the oldest city in Canada, an international airport, the Prime Minister has allowed the city to welcome the thousands of tourists and delegates who will come to celebrate the anniversary of French Canada in 2008.

Mr. Prime Minister, on behalf of my fellow citizens, I cordially invite you to come celebrate our anniversary with us in 2008.

Sainte-Julie Golf TournamentStatements By Members

11 a.m.

Bloc

Luc Malo Bloc Verchères—Les Patriotes, QC

Mr. Speaker, on May 29 I participated in the 25th Ville de Sainte-Julie golf tournament, with an illustrious resident of the city, former mayor Yvon Major, as honorary chair.

Mr. Major held public office for over 20 years as a councillor and then mayor. He is known to all as a man of unlimited generosity. Among his other good works was his participation with the South Shore's Alzheimer Society in establishing a home for persons suffering from Alzheimer disease.

I would like to thank Mr. Major—a man with a great heart, a man of conscience and action and a great sense of humour—for his exemplary involvement.

A long-time golfer, Yvon Major has made the Sainte-Julie golf tournament a charity event that benefits organizations in his community. I congratulate Mayor Suzanne Roy, the organizers, volunteers and many sponsors of this tournament, and I wish this wonderful activity continued success.

Proud to be CanadianStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

Guy Lauzon Conservative Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry, ON

Mr. Speaker, last week I kicked off a non-partisan Proud to be Canadian campaign to encourage everyone in my riding of Stormont--Dundas--South Glengarry to show how proud they are to live in the greatest part of the greatest country in the world.

The Proud to be Canadian campaign is co-chaired by Sultan Jessa and Jake Lamoureux, both of whom are Order of Canada recipients from my riding.

Our goal is to have at least 25,000 Canadian flags displayed in homes and businesses throughout Stormont--Dundas--South Glengarry on Canada Day. An army of over 500 patriotic volunteers has already started to distribute Canadian flag posters and information about our national flag.

I urge all Canadians to proudly fly our national flag on July 1 and all year round. I challenge all the other members of this House and their constituents to compete with Stormont--Dundas--South Glengarry for the title of the most patriotic riding in this wonderful country called Canada.

EnerGuideStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Roy Cullen Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, the recent cancellation of the popular and effective EnerGuide for houses programs has taken many by surprise and has left experts and ordinary Canadians alike scratching their heads.

Clifford Maynes, executive director of Green Communities Canada, has said that the cancellation of the EnerGuide program “has the potential to set back the cause of residential energy efficiency in this country by a decade or more”.

Geoff Lorentz, a councillor on Kitchener's environmental advisory committee, agrees that the EnerGuide program achieves energy savings of up to 30% and asks, “Why would you cut a program like that? This is a valued program. It is great for the community and great for the country”.

We know that the EnerGuide programs were working. The experts know it. Everyday Canadians know it. I guess the only people who don't get it are in the Conservative Party.

Firearms RegistryStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

Leon Benoit Conservative Vegreville—Wainwright, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal member for Beaches--East York had the gall to stand in the House yesterday to try to defend her government's atrocious record on the long gun registry.

Then, still without shame, she accused my colleague, the excellent member for Yorkton--Melville, of presenting inaccurate information to the House. That Liberal member chose to completely ignore the Auditor General's report which confirmed that the Liberals were the ones who misinformed this House about the cost of this ineffective program.

The Auditor General's report stated that the Department of Justice failed to record costs incurred, the centre's decision to not record $21.8 million was contrary to the government's policy, Parliament was misinformed about the costs the centre had incurred, and there was a serious lack of documentary evidence. The Liberals tried to hide it.

Members of the former Liberal government should just hang their heads in shame and apologize to Canadians for their corrupt government.

TradeStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, the federal government has initiated free trade negotiations with South Korea. These negotiations are very concerning to many of my constituents in London--Fanshawe. They feel that their jobs, as well as other Canadian auto sector jobs, will be placed at further risk with a new deal.

Canada imported 130,000 vehicles from Korea, but exported only 400 vehicles back to Korea. For every dollar of automotive product we export to Korea, we import $150. This is not balanced trade.

NAFTA style trade agreements have not been beneficial to Canadian businesses. Recently, we saw Canada get the short end of the stick in the softwood lumber deal. We do not want the Conservative government to put our auto industry at risk as it did softwood.

Canada needs a new automotive trade policy, one that protects auto workers and the Canadian auto industry by ensuring equal access to offshore markets that import into Canada.

AirportsStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Liberal Ajax—Pickering, ON

Mr. Speaker, for more than three decades the residents of Ajax--Pickering have been living with a dark cloud over their heads, a proposed international airport in Pickering. This cloud grew darker in November 2004 when the Greater Toronto Airport Authority, or GTAA, released a plan to break ground on an airport by 2014.

The deeply flawed GTAA proposal was heavily criticized by the community, transportation experts and myself. It led the former Liberal transport minister to announce a due diligence peer review. The announcement was welcome news to our community which is anxious to avoid another Mirabel and wishes to ensure that the existing infrastructure is fully utilized.

The current transport minister has agreed to continue this review, but there is concern over the terms of reference. If we do not ask the right questions, we will not get the right answers. I have urged that the community be consulted both on the terms of reference and during the review itself. It now appears this will not happen. That is simply unacceptable.

I urge the minister to stand by the commitments of the former minister, conduct a full and fair review, and engage our community fully in the process.

École polyvalente Nicolas-GatineauStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Bloc

Richard Nadeau Bloc Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to congratulate the organizers of the École polyvalente Nicolas-Gatineau 30-hour cycling challenge.

This was the 16th edition of the challenge. Thirteen young women and eight young men in Secondary V pedalled from 5:30 a.m. on May 25 to 11:30 a.m. on May 26.

As the honorary chairman, I too cycled in the morning of May 25 and for two hours on the night of May 26. Believe me, these young people have courage!

This physical feat is made possible by eight months of rigorous training. I would be remiss if I did not mention the excellent work by teacher François Allard and his colleagues who give freely of their time when it comes to getting involved in their students' activities.

I am very proud of these young people. This Gatineau event is not to be missed and I wish it many more years of success.

Millennium ScholarshipsStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Navdeep Bains Liberal Mississauga—Brampton South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate six students from my riding of Mississauga--Brampton South. These six students have each won excellence awards for the 2006-07 academic year from the Canadian Millennium Scholarship Foundation. They have demonstrated outstanding achievements in academics, community service, leadership and innovation.

As many students turn from secondary to post-secondary education, they are searching for alternative means to help finance their increasing tuition costs and their rising debt payments. Since the Conservative government failed to address the needs of post-secondary students in the last budget, scholarships like these provided by the millennium foundation are becoming increasingly valuable and important to the education of our future generations.

I hope the House will join with me in congratulating the following six students from the riding of Mississauga--Brampton South for their achievements: Ayodele Odutayo, Kevin Wang, Ke-Jia Chong, Micaela Crisliano, Wendy Ho and Elaine Jingyang Tang.

Liberal Party of CanadaStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Conservative

Larry Miller Conservative Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound, ON

Mr. Speaker, allow me to present my top 10 list of Liberal hypocrisies:

Number one, naming an environment critic and two Liberal leadership candidates who oppose Kyoto.

Number two, having an agricultural critic demanding more aid for farmers when he repeatedly voted against more aid.

Number three, saying the party supports improved accountability and transparency while opposing the federal accountability act.

Number four, naming an associate critic of immigration who compared Canada's immigration system to Nazi Germany.

Number five, the member for Malpeque claiming he wants more done for farmers after having done nothing for 13 years.

Number six, criticizing MPs who change parties while that party has six defectors in its caucus.

Number seven, many Liberal MPs who sent troops to Afghanistan, then voted against the mission.

Number eight, demanding that the gun registry be kept when many of their own MPs want it scrapped.

Number nine, criticizing rising gas prices after again doing nothing for 13 years.

And number 10, attacking the idea of Senate reform despite promising to reform the Senate when they were in power.

Talk about hypocrisy.

Seniors WeekStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Bloc

Nicole Demers Bloc Laval, QC

Mr. Speaker, last week was Seniors Week in Quebec. This initiative began in 1969 following the Government of Quebec's designation of a Seniors Day. Over the years, that day became a week.

During Seniors Week, we recognize how much seniors contribute to our society. This year, the theme was “Celebrating seniors' involvement in society”. We highlighted their contribution to all parts of our society through volunteer work.

Seniors have not retired from life. They can be found anywhere there is a need. Social agencies, hospitals, schools and soup kitchens are but a few examples of the extent of their involvement.

Seniors are indispensable to our economy. Every year, they contribute more than $60 million worth of volunteer hours.

The Bloc Québécois salutes seniors and their involvement in and dedication to our community.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, all Canadians are deeply troubled by the ongoing conflict about land related issues in the Caledonia district of Ontario.

Yesterday, the Ontario Superior Court judge seized with this matter, Justice Marshall, took the extraordinary step of convening a hearing on his own and specifically asked for the presence and participation of the Government of Canada within two weeks.

I understand that the Minister of Indian Affairs said he will cooperate with the court. Could I ask the minister, does that explicitly mean that he will comply with Justice Marshall's invitation, and who will be representing the Government of Canada in court on June 16?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Jim Prentice ConservativeMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Justice Marshall yesterday requested the attendance of a number of parties at his chambers. The federal government was not one of the parties that was asked to attend.

I indicated yesterday that the government will be fully cooperative with Mr. Justice Marshall and as the hon. member well knows, the Government of Canada has been a participant at the tables discussing a resolution of the claims process.

The Government of Canada is being well represented by a former foreign affairs minister and I have full confidence in her ability to deal with the situation.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, the Ontario judge, Justice Marshall, is obviously deeply concerned about Caledonia. He obviously believes the involvement of the Government of Canada is indispensable and that the government's involvement so far has been inadequate. It is also clear that Justice Marshall thinks the situation is urgent.

Within the two week timeframe now identified by the Ontario Superior Court, what specific ideas or initiatives will the Government of Canada bring forward and, failing that detail today, what is the process by which the federal input will be developed and exactly when?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Jim Prentice ConservativeMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has dealt with similar situations, so he understands the sensitivity and gravity of a situation such as this.

In terms of the process, let me be clear. The Government of Canada has been represented at the table by Barbara McDougall, a former foreign affairs minister, and Ron Dearing, a former chief of staff to a Minister of Indian Affairs.

Mr. Dearing, in particular, has spent the last 48 hours negotiating and Ms. McDougall would be at the table today for another negotiating session. The process is, frankly, working. We are committed to it and we will continue to pursue it.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, in dealing with public policy issues, issues which touch people's lives in very intimate ways, the building of ongoing effective relationships is crucial. Relationships between aboriginal and non-aboriginal peoples are often particularly delicate and also particularly essential.

By appearing to walk away from such an initiatives as the Kelowna accord, the federal government's relationships with aboriginal Canadians have been damaged.

When the court hearings resume on June 16 with respect to Caledonia, what will the Government of Canada specifically propose to begin rebuilding the relationships in this dispute, which have obviously been so badly damaged?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Jim Prentice ConservativeMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians

Mr. Speaker, I would like to point out that I do not accept the premise of the question relative to either Kelowna or the relationships between the government and aboriginal Canadians. Aboriginal Canadians are working well with the government. They are pleased by the budget.

We have solid working relationships with the Assembly of First Nations and all of the other aboriginal organizations with whom the Government of Canada deals. They have said that they wish to continue to work in a respectful way with the government. We are pleased with that.

In terms of Caledonia, we are at the table. We are negotiating in concert with the Government of Ontario, which has important responsibilities in this area. We will continue to make progress.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Liberal Ottawa South, ON

Mr. Speaker, 10 years ago, our government created the procurement strategy for aboriginal business, which has been a great success. The strategy was renewed in 2001 and in 2003. It is up for review this year. However, according to documents I obtained from his department, the minister is preparing to quietly abolish this measure, without warning, without consultation and without reason. He is sabotaging the very essence of the Kelowna accord.

Will the minister explain why promoting the success of our aboriginal communities is no longer one of the government's priorities?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Jim Prentice ConservativeMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians

Mr. Speaker, the procurement strategy for aboriginal business continues to be government policy.

I can assure the member that the inferences he is making about future policy direction are not accurate and as part of our commitment to continue to work with aboriginal Canadians and consult with them, we will continue to deal with that.

The department which I represent, in particular, is a strong proponent of aboriginal businesses, the development of aboriginal initiatives, and the creation of employment for aboriginal Canadians. We are continuing to make progress in that area and I can assure the hon. member that what he suggests is not correct.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Liberal Ottawa South, ON

It is too bad the facts, Mr. Speaker, do not actually match the minister's rhetoric.

Treasury Board guidelines continue to require that the government minister do business with aboriginal enterprises and the minister's own website strongly encourages aboriginal businesses across Canada to apply for PSAB contracts.

First we learn that an aboriginal company in Winnipeg is cut off after nine years of successful service. Now, without notice, without consultation and without any reason given, an aboriginal company in my own riding is put at risk, jeopardizing over 100 jobs, $40 million in business, and internal documents confirm our worst suspicions.

Not only has the government thrown out the Kelowna accord but now it is actively undermining successful aboriginal--

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Bill Blaikie

The Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Jim Prentice ConservativeMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is not correct in his comments. We continue to work with aboriginal Canadians. As I have said, the initiatives that we are pursuing relative to aboriginal employment, searching out where there are major job creation opportunities and where we can create initiatives with aboriginal Canadians on the creation of aboriginally owned businesses, are very clear.

In particular, I would point out for the benefit of the member the socio-economic fund, the $500 million that was announced in the budget, for aboriginal Canadians to create opportunities north of 60.