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House of Commons Hansard #36 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was education.

Topics

René BoucherStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Carrier Bloc Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to pay tribute to a great man from Laval who has done a great service for his community and recently retired from his position as carnival director for the Laval figure skating club: René Boucher.

The ice carnival he directed was recognized across Quebec and Canada and enjoys an excellent reputation. The best skaters in the world performed in this ice carnival. Brian Orser, Tracy Wilson, Toller Cranston and Karen Magnussen are but a few of the athletes who have thrilled fans and taken part in this famous ice show at the Laval Coliseum.

Mr. Boucher directed his last show on April 22 and 23, as part of the 40th carnival. I wish to thank those who worked closely with him, as volunteers like him, without whom, as he put it so aptly, there could have been no show.

The Bloc Québécois salutes him and says, “Thank you, Mr. Boucher, for the great job you have done”.

Citizenship and ImmigrationStatements by Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Penny Priddy NDP Surrey North, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am rising in the House today to speak against serious discrimination faced by many people who emigrate to Canada. Our country has signed reciprocal agreements with dozens of countries to make qualified new immigrants eligible for old age security immediately when they arrive in Canada.

If an immigrant comes from a country like India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka or one of the many other countries that have not yet signed reciprocal agreements, they are forced to wait 10 years before becoming eligible for their pensions, even after they become Canadian citizens. This practice is unfair and unjust. Eligibility for old age security should be based on logical criteria, criteria that do not treat people differently based on where they come from.

I plan to introduce a motion in the House next session calling for an end to the discriminatory 10 year waiting period applied to some new Canadians. I hope all hon. members will join me in showing their support.

Automobile IndustryStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Colin Carrie Conservative Oshawa, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is a great honour for me to rise in the House today, as the General Motors No. 2 plant in my riding of Oshawa topped the J.D. Power and Associates survey of automotive plants in vehicle quality.

For the second straight year, Oshawa No. 2 has topped this prestigious list, confirming its place as a world leader in the automotive manufacturing industry. It gets better. Not only did the plant win the gold award, Oshawa No. 2's production of the Pontiac Grand Prix was ranked in the same survey as having the highest quality production in the large car segment.

I would like to personally congratulate every assembler and manager at Oshawa No. 2 plant. This is a wonderful accomplishment for all the employees and General Motors and a proud day for Oshawa. I would like all parliamentarians to join me in congratulating every person at Oshawa No. 2 for their hard work and world leading manufacturing.

I thank Oshawa No. 2 for making everyone in Oshawa proud.

Citizenship and ImmigrationStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Raymond Chan Liberal Richmond, BC

Mr. Speaker, Canada has an estimated 800,000-person backlog in our immigration system and the wait time for citizenship in urban centres is close to a year. Not only is this important for my riding of Richmond, but it is also very important to the rest of Canada.

The previous Liberal government designed a multitude of efficient and effective immigration policies, allocated $700 million over five years to reduce the application inventory, signed a $920 million Canada-Ontario immigration agreement, and invested over $2.4 billion in immigration policies in 2005 alone. It was a government working for Canadians.

The Conservative government has pledged that it would improve Canada's immigration policy, but instead it has cut the $700 million in funding to reduce the backlog, has failed to formally ratify the Canada-Ontario agreement and has failed to allocate funds for the other eight provinces' immigration strategies. Shame.

Atlas of CanadaStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, it is with great pleasure that I draw the attention of the hon. members of this House to the fact that the Atlas of Canada is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2006.

Over the past 100 years, the Atlas of Canada, which is produced by Natural Resources Canada, has provided snapshots of Canada's society, economy and environment.

The Atlas helps Canadians understand a variety of concepts, issues and decisions set in a geographical context, both locally and nationally.

Since an online edition of the Atlas was launched in 1994, there has been a thousandfold increase in the number of Canadians who have visited the www.atlas.gc.ca website to view maps.

I invite the hon. members of this House to join me in congratulating Natural Resources Canada and the Atlas of Canada staff on this important milestone in the remarkable history of an institution that has been inextricably tied to the advancement of Canada as a nation.

Martine TalbotStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Nicole Demers Bloc Laval, QC

Mr. Speaker, the day after Quebec's 10th annual Week of the Disabled, I would like to pay tribute to Martine Talbot.

She was born in Chicoutimi on February 15, 1952. At the age of 22, she became a paraplegic as a result of an automobile accident. Nevertheless, she decided to visit the west coast, from British Columbia to California, and then travelled to Mexico and Central America.

She has been involved in several wheelchair sports as both an athlete and coach. In 1978, she won two silver medals in swimming at the Pan American Wheelchair Games. That same year, at the Canada Games, she won four gold medals and beat two Canadian records in track and field and in swimming.

Today she works for the Regroupement des organismes de promotion de personnes handicapées de Laval. She is an accomplished woman, a mother and grandmother, doing exceptional work, and is considered a real Renaissance woman who has broken down many barriers.

The Bloc Québécois congratulates Martine.

BuddiesStatements by Members

June 8th, 2006 / 2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Garry Breitkreuz Conservative Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, I recently visited the community of Kelvington in my riding. An exciting new program called Buddies is matching senior students with junior students, youth with seniors, and adults and youth with children to build mutually beneficial relationships.

Bullying has decreased as those involved have made a commitment to be kind and caring toward another person. This volunteer program has become so popular that over half the students in Kelvington High School are involved.

I want to thank the corporate sponsors for supporting the Buddies program: East Central Co-op, Kelvington Credit Union and V&S Esso. The schools, churches, seniors lodge and RCMP in the community, together with manager Debora Pauchay, need to be complimented for bringing this program together.

This pilot project in Kelvington, a community of 1,000 people, could be a model for other communities to use in reducing the problems our youth are experiencing.

Congratulations Buddies.

Small Craft HarboursStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Eyking Liberal Sydney—Victoria, NS

Mr. Speaker, in a recent issue of the Chronicle-Herald, the leader of the NDP claimed personal credit for opening debate on a motion that led to the House calling for a $15 million increase in small craft harbour funding. That member told a group of fishermen in Woods Harbour, Nova Scotia that the passage of the motion was thanks to the efforts of the NDP. This is just another example of a long list of Liberal measures that the NDP has tried to take credit for.

While the NDP leader was busy patting himself on the back, Canadians saw that the motion was introduced by the Liberal member for Cardigan. It was our Liberal member who was solely responsible.

This misrepresentation is nothing new for the NDP. After all, it is the party that abandoned child care, the Kelowna accord and Kyoto for the sake of a few more seats in the House of Commons.

Grasslands National ParkStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

David Anderson Conservative Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

Mr. Speaker, Grasslands National Park is in my riding. It is an example of a mixed grass prairie ecosystem that extends through much of Cypress Hills—Grasslands. For the first time in 120 years, prairie bison have been reintroduced by Parks Canada to Grasslands National Park.

Local ranchers are working with Parks Canada and other stakeholders such as first nations to give Canadians a native prairie experience unlike any other in Canada. The return of the buffalo establishes a grazing regime in the park that will complement local ranch stewardship and provide habitat for a large variety of wildlife species.

The Prairie Persists project, one of 11 ecological integrity projects undertaken by Parks Canada across our country, includes the release of the bison and the launch of the Prairie Learning Center educational initiative.

Grasslands National Park, the Chinook School Division and other educational partners are giving students the opportunity to go on site to learn about the native northern mixed grass prairie. This park is making a unique contribution to Parks Canada's mandate to protect and educate.

Teaching ExcellenceStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to a constituent, a friend and a mentor, Dr. Brian Keenan, professor of philosophy at the University of Winnipeg.

Dr. Keenan, who lives with his wife Jany in the Elmwood area of my riding, received the Robson award for excellence in teaching at the University of Winnipeg's annual convocation ceremonies on June 4. It was a well-deserved honour for someone who has taught philosophy at the University of Winnipeg with insight, humour and relevance for some 33 years. He earned a special place in the memories of so many students as one who made classes something to look forward to and the year end party something to remember.

I am sure I speak on behalf of all his students, from those like myself who enjoyed his classes in the early 1970s to those who are freshly graduated, when I say congratulations to Dr. Keenan. I thank him for all the years of helping to sort out the truth, the false and the interesting claims that are to be found in the world views that compete for our intellectual loyalty. May he teach for as many more seasons as he wishes.

DarfurStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Liberal Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, the crisis in Darfur which the United Nations called a humanitarian catastrophe even 18 months ago continues to worsen. Over one-quarter of a million people have been displaced in the last four months alone. Humanitarian workers are themselves the targets of assault and abduction. Government violations of international humanitarian law have actually escalated since the peace agreement was signed. We are on the verge of what UN humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator Jan Egeland called an “imminent and ominous loss of life”.

Accordingly, I rise to commend the extraordinary contribution of one Canadian, Walter Arbib, who has donated $430,000 to send much needed medical supplies to Darfur, facilitated by the Canadian Jewish Congress.

This singular act of compassion, care and commitment dramatizes the need for a multinational civilian protection force under the AU to stop the killing, to protect humanitarian aid workers and humanitarian assistance, to implement the international Responsibility to Protect, and to redeem our international honour as Walter Arbib's personal exemplary contribution has done.

Responsible InvestmentStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec joined other major pension fund managers on April 27 and signed an unprecedented declaration, a declaration proposed by the UN to promote the principles for responsible investment.

The declaration, signed in New York, sets out six principles accompanied by 35 possible actions enabling an institution to integrate environmental, social and good governance considerations into its investment activities.

These actions, developed over a one-year period by more than twenty institutional investors, touch on decision-making, active ownership, transparency and promoting these principles within the financial community. Possible actions include the filing of shareholder resolutions consistent with responsible investment principles as well as exercising voting rights that reflect such principles, as was done at the Bombardier shareholder meeting.

The Bloc Québécois congratulates the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec for this initiative, which promotes a long-term vision for sustainable and responsible investment.

Amyotrophic Lateral SclerosisStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Bryon Wilfert Liberal Richmond Hill, ON

Mr. Speaker, June is ALS month. The ALS Society of Canada, founded in 1977, is the only national voluntary health organization dedicated solely to the fight against ALS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

The ALS Society is the leading not for profit health organization working nationwide to fund ALS research and work to improve the quality of life for Canadians affected by the disease.

I have a friend, Ben Lindberg, who has ALS. Imagine not being able to walk, write, smile, talk, eat and sometimes breathe on one's own, and yet one's mind usually remains intact and one's senses unaffected. This is what ALS is like for Ben and the 3,000 Canadians who live with the disease.

There is no effective treatment for ALS and no known cure yet. Eighty per cent of people diagnosed with ALS die within two to five years. Two to three Canadians with ALS die every day. Two to three Canadians are diagnosed with ALS every day.

Volunteers and staff of the ALS Society participate in annual fundraising events, including Walk for ALS, Hike4ALS and the Concert of Hope.

I urge all Canadians to donate to their provincial ALS societies.

Softwood LumberStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Helena Guergis Conservative Simcoe—Grey, ON

Mr. Speaker, for too long the softwood lumber industry has faced uncertainty. While the industry has paid billions of dollars in duties and the courts have been tied up in litigation, thousands of families have lost their livelihood.

The Free Trade Lumber Council told committee that there had been at least 10,000 job losses during this dispute.

Earlier this week the member for Vancouver Island North told us how the softwood lumber dispute had been hard on the industry and resulted in many job losses in the region.

The Minister of International Trade has worked hard to resolve this dispute. The framework of a new agreement is being negotiated. We are bringing stability back into the lumber industry.

I think it is most fitting that tonight the Minister of International Trade will be honoured as the 2006 Lumberman of the Year. Calling him the lumberman's lumberman, the British Columbia Wholesale Lumber Association is happy to bestow this honour upon him.

I join with all my colleagues in thanking the member for Vancouver Kingsway for his excellent work and dedication to our country and the forestry industry of Canada.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, condemnation of the government's environmental policy grows louder with each passing day for its abandonment of Kyoto and the environment. It has been criticized by scientists, by provinces and most especially by Canadians. Economists have now added their voices pointing out that abandoning the Kyoto protocol will be a disaster for the Canadian economy.

Clearly, the Prime Minister is not receptive to protecting the Canadian environment. Now it would appear as well that he is not interested in the economic arguments in favour of Kyoto.

Does the Prime Minister reject the premise that meeting our Kyoto objectives will bring substantial benefits to the Canadian economy as eminent economists assured him in a recent letter?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, it is actually our view that there are synergies to be had in environmental improvement as well as economic growth and development and I should add at the same time with energy security.

What I have said and what the government has said repeatedly is what we will not do and what the former government was planning to do, which was to send billions of dollars of taxpayers' money overseas to buy so-called pollution credits from other countries with no environmental improvements whatsoever in Canada. That is something we will never do. That is my stand.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, if the Prime Minister's reasoning made sense, eminent economists would never have written him an open letter stating that a made-in-Canada climate policy that does not take into account international cooperation is doomed to be ineffective both environmentally and economically.

Will the Prime Minister finally listen to these eminent economists—not to his own yes-men, but to these economists—and to Canadians and follow through with Kyoto? That is my question.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we recognize that improving the environment will benefit the economy. That is why we allocated, for example, funds for renewable fuels and public transit in the budget. This will produce both economic and environmental benefits. I would add that I think this is why the official opposition supported the budget.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, that is the best argument, and no doubt the reason the Prime Minister just gave is the reason the environment minister did not attend the annual smog summit in Toronto. Instead, the minister found time to speak to the Canadian Club where she attempted to lay the blame for abandoning the fight on climate change at the feet of the underdeveloped countries of the world.

We understand that this is an age-old Conservative reaction; when in doubt if they can blame the poor, that is a great out.

Was the minister's failure to attend the smog summit because she did not want to face an audience that would not accept the rhetoric, or is it because of the Prime Minister's and that party's rejection of the problems of our inner cities? Is that where it comes from?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, let me read a quote for the leader of the Liberal Party opposite:

The issue is climate change and the problem is threefold: those countries which have fallen behind on their targets, including my own; those countries that have not accepted the threat as a threat; and the major emerging economies who feel the problem is for others to solve.

That quote did not come from the environment minister. That quote is from a speech by the member for LaSalle—Émard, the former prime minister and former leader of the Liberal Party.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Liberal Ottawa South, ON

Mr. Speaker, according to a poll in Quebec, 79% of Quebeckers prefer the commitments made under the Kyoto protocol to the government's position.

While the minister was pondering the idea of a useless Asia-Pacific partnership, she missed two deadlines at the United Nations. She has no plan and no timeline. Canadians are against it, economists are against it, the provinces and cities are against it, and Parliament is against it.

Will the minister admit that no matter what she proposes to replace the Kyoto protocol, she will never have the support of Canadians?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Edmonton—Spruce Grove Alberta

Conservative

Rona Ambrose ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, while the opposition plays politics with Kyoto, this government is actually cleaning up the air that Canadians breathe.

We do have support from the Clean Air Foundation which said yesterday that they are encouraged by our government's announcement on mercury, that it is an essential step to protecting people and the environment from an unnecessary exposure to this dangerous toxic substance.

Yesterday we announced a pollution prevention plan that will take 10 tonnes of mercury out of the air. This is something the Liberals sat on for years. Our government is acting in the best interests and the health of Canadians.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Liberal Ottawa South, ON

Mr. Speaker, there is no plan. There are no timelines.

The Asia-Pacific 6 is disintegrating. The minister has missed two United Nations deadlines while she says she leads the process. Canadians disagree. Top economists disagree. Provinces and cities disagree. This Parliament disagrees.

Let me put this question to the Prime Minister. The global emissions trading market under Kyoto would create a new $150 billion a year securities market. While the climate warms, why is the Prime Minister intent on leaving Canadian businesses out in the cold?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Edmonton—Spruce Grove Alberta

Conservative

Rona Ambrose ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the only party in the House that left businesses out in the cold is the Liberal Party of Canada. The Liberals did not put a plan in place, so that any businesses could take advantage of any kind of trading system. Instead, they set unachievable targets which meant that businesses and their government were going to spend billions of dollars in taxpayers' money overseas. This government will never do that.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, a survey released today shows that 79% of Quebeckers want the Kyoto protocol to be respected. But the Canadian government continues to distance itself from the Kyoto protocol and keeps saying that it will not be able to respect its commitments.

Will the Prime Minister drop his dogmatic approach to the Kyoto protocol and listen to the people of Quebec instead of his friends the oil companies?