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House of Commons Hansard #51 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was workers.

Topics

Canadian ForcesStatements by Members

11 a.m.

Conservative

Pierre Lemieux Conservative Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, I recently met with a special family in my riding. The Spence family has a long, proud tradition of military service going back several generations. The father, Rick Spence, is a 27 year veteran who serves in our Canadian air force.

His son, Private Michael Spence, is a member of the 1st Battalion of the Royal Canadian Regiment. Tragically, he was critically wounded serving on operations in Afghanistan. After meeting with his parents, Rick and Christina, I am extremely pleased to report that Michael is in good spirits and responding well to treatment. In fact, he is on the Hill today for the rally.

One thing Michael wanted me to express is that he is only one of thousands of brave Canadian men and women serving in Afghanistan today, and that it is his hope that they receive the honour and full support of all Canadians for the dangerous but important work they are doing. We heard today from President Karzai how essential this work is.

As a 20 year veteran of the armed forces, I salute our brave soldiers who are truly making a difference.

My colleagues and I wish Michael a speedy recovery. We will keep him and his family in our prayers.

ChinaStatements by Members

11 a.m.

Liberal

Bryon Wilfert Liberal Richmond Hill, ON

Mr. Speaker, China is the fourth largest economy in the world, boasting unprecedented economic growth and providing tremendous trade and investment opportunities for Canada. Yet the Conservative government has all but ignored this economic powerhouse.

From the damaging allegations about industrial espionage to the snubbing of China's ambassador to Canada by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the actions of the minority Conservative government are causing the Canadian business community to miss the boat when it comes to trade and investment in China.

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is calling on the Conservative minority government to bolster Canadian trade and investment in China and encourage Chinese companies to invest in Canada.

Business leaders are not alone in their desire for a stronger economic relationship with China. The Asia-Pacific Foundation released an opinion poll last week where Canadians named China, not the United States, as the most important potential export market for Canada.

The Conservatives' actions are being noticed by the Chinese government, which recently shut down negotiations to grant Canada approved destination status, effectively killing a multi-million dollar opportunity to allow Chinese tourists to visit Canada.

China's ambassador has felt the need to say that we need mutual respect. The Conservative government--

ChinaStatements by Members

11 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Vaudreuil—Soulanges.

Member for Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-CharlesStatements by Members

11 a.m.

Bloc

Meili Faille Bloc Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is another sad day for Quebec when a member of Parliament echoes the words of the journalist from The Globe and Mail, words that anger all Quebeckers.

The member for Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles took the same shameful position, suggesting that there is a link between the shootings at the École polytechnique, Concordia University and Dawson College and the integration problems experienced by immigrants to Quebec. Even worse, he added fuel to the fire by stating that the gun registry should be abolished and that the billion dollars spent on the registry should have been used to educate and integrate immigrants. It is scandalous.

Yet the journalist's column was decried and denounced by the Prime Minister himself, the Premier of Quebec, all the other members of Parliament and people throughout Quebec.

A member who claims to represent Quebec's interests should formally apologize for his unworthy and unacceptable remarks in the wake of a tragic event.

PovertyStatements by Members

September 22nd, 2006 / 11:05 a.m.

NDP

David Christopherson NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I recently organized a round table meeting with some of the leaders of Hamilton's immigrant support organizations to discuss how we can better help settle new Canadians into our community.

One of the key priorities raised is the chronic high unemployment and increasing poverty among immigrant families. Fifty-two per cent of recent immigrants to Hamilton live below the poverty line, a shocking and shameful figure that belies the government's claim to support new Canadians.

This is not the first time Hamilton's poverty has been identified. Last spring the Hamilton Income Security Working Group reported to a United Nations meeting in Geneva that tens of thousands of Hamilton's children are living in poverty. That report made it clear that the responsibility for this urgent and desperate crisis falls to our governments which refuse to help with sufficient affordable housing, promised job opportunities and effective child benefit programs.

Poverty is a cancer in my community and across our country. We owe it to all Canadians current and future to work to eliminate it.

Canadian ForcesStatements by Members

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

Bruce Stanton Conservative Simcoe North, ON

Mr. Speaker, commemorating the men and women who are serving, being injured and dying for their country and their mission in Afghanistan is an unceasing reminder of the courage and sacrifice of the members of the Canadian Forces and their families at home.

The mother of one injured soldier from my riding inscribed in her letter to me, “Do not let our members of Parliament forget what these soldiers have died for and have been injured for....There is still much work to do over there”.

On Wednesday I learned that another of my constituents, Private Mike McTeague, was seriously injured in Monday's suicide bomber attack. Mike's father, Sean, has joined him at the U.S. military hospital in Landstuhl, Germany. Mike's brother will join him there in the days ahead.

I invite all members to join with me in expressing our best wishes for Private McTeague's full recovery and our thanks to his family, including the family of the member for Pickering—Scarborough East, for their unyielding courage and support.

AtholvilleStatements by Members

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, on September 9, I had the honour of attending the celebrations to mark the 40th anniversary of the municipality of Atholville.

In every respect, the village of Atholville is second to none. The community has a history marked by one success after another.

The people behind the celebrations deserve all the praise they will receive in the coming year. People like them become models for an entire community and inspire it to achieve excellence.

I would therefore like to congratulate the volunteers who planned the 40th anniversary festivities: chair Gisèle Richard Chiasson, as well as Nicole LeBrun, Suzanne Matte, Françoise Gallant, Jeanette Rioux, Pierre Raymond, Patrick Maltais, Marc-André Savoie, Jean Soucy, Gérard Fallu, Michelle Dion, Gaëtan Cormier, Léonard Poirier, Jacqueline Bard, Georges Giroux, Lucien Chiasson and Judith Thibodeau.

I would also like to thank the mayor, Raymond Lagacé, who hosted the activities on that special day.

Noah's Ride for the CureStatements by Members

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

Ken Epp Conservative Edmonton—Sherwood Park, AB

Mr. Speaker, my wife and I are incredibly proud of our nine year old grandson.

After seeing a family friend go through a very difficult time fighting cancer, Noah came up with the idea of raising money for cancer research by riding his bicycle from Calgary to Edmonton. In August, Noah and his dad, my son Brent, did the ride. They rode 328 kilometres in two days. I had the privilege of driving one of the pilot cars and in the mirror I observed the grit and determination which this marathon exacted from both of them.

This nine year old is an inspiration to us all. In the shadow of Terry Fox, whose picture is on the wall in Noah's room, he did the impossible. He has almost met his fundraising goal of $30,000. Anyone who would like to contribute may still do it. Just go to www.NoahsRide.ca.

Way to go, Noah.

Jewish New Year and RamadanStatements by Members

11:05 a.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, tomorrow night marks a very important religious event for the people of Israel and followers of Ishmael. Jews everywhere will celebrate the Jewish New Year, while Ramadan will begin for Muslims.

For Muslims, Ramadan marks the anniversary of the revelation of the Quran to the prophet Mohammed. For Jews, tomorrow marks the anniversary of creation.

These important celebrations represent a special time for people to get together, renew old acquaintances and celebrate the strong ties that unite these communities.

Let us hope that these moments of prayer and reflection will lead all people of the world towards peace, tolerance, justice and mutual understanding.

We in the Bloc Québécois extend our best wishes to the Jewish and Muslim communities during this time of celebration.

AfghanistanStatements by Members

11:10 a.m.

Conservative

Barry Devolin Conservative Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am one of many Canadians who has been treated well abroad simply because I am Canadian. In high school I had the opportunity to spend a year in the Netherlands as a rotary exchange student where I enjoyed a never-ending series of warm receptions, especially from older people, as a consequence of Canadian sacrifices made during World War II.

About 10 years ago I had the opportunity to live in South Korea for a year and a half. As in Holland, I often received a positive reaction when I said I was Canadian. Once again, I was standing on the shoulders of Canadian soldiers who travelled halfway around the world to fight for freedom and democracy.

I hope that one day, maybe 20 years from now, my son and daughter will have the opportunity to travel and maybe they will choose to go to Afghanistan. At that time I trust they will be warmly received as I was in Holland and Korea. I expect the Afghan people will say, “We appreciate the fact that Canadians were here to help us in our moment of need. It was never easy and it was not always popular, but Canada and Canadian soldiers and aid workers were here when we needed them most. Thank you”.

Howard SteinStatements by Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Stephen Owen Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is with great sadness that I rise today to advise the House of the death yesterday of an extraordinary Canadian, my constituent and friend, Dr. Howard Stein. Howard is survived by his wife, Justice Sunni Stromberg-Stein of the Supreme Court of British Columbia, his sons Jaime and Jordan, and his mother Anne.

Howard was an internationally recognized physician, professor and author in rheumatology. He was diagnosed with a terminal illness 17 years ago, and although he had to give up the day to day practice of medicine, he remained active in the medical profession through his writings and teachings at the University of British Columbia.

Howard was determined to devote his remaining years to his family, the community, the health of Canadians and the peace process between Israel and Palestine. In November 2005 Howard Stein was instrumental in organizing Partners in Peace, a series of public dialogues in Vancouver between the Jordanian and Israeli ambassadors to Canada, who have become the best of friends and are continuing Howard's passion and energy toward a peaceful Middle East.

Red Friday RallyStatements by Members

11:10 a.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Nepean—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, in less than an hour, thousands of proud Canadians will show their support for our brave men and women who serve with honour in our military by attending a massive rally in front of Parliament Hill.

Thousands more are wearing red from coast to coast to show solidarity for those who risk their lives serving Canada abroad every day.

Yesterday, Mr. Speaker, you made an honourable decision to allow the staff on Parliament Hill to wear red ribbons to support our troops. I thank you wholeheartedly for your decision. I invite these employees to pick up a complimentary red ribbon in my office.

A special thanks goes to my friend Lowell Green and 580 CFRA for bringing the Wear Red Fridays rally to the heart of our country.

All members should attend and show their support for our troops who serve in over a dozen countries, including Afghanistan, putting their lives on the line for our freedom.

I am proud to stand foursquare behind them and our freedom. God bless them.

AfghanistanStatements by Members

11:10 a.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, the House heard today from President Karzai that the way forward for Afghanistan is to move beyond military operations and attack terrorism at its source.

His fine diplomatic speech was as significant for what it did not say. There was no mention of the devastating impact of the counterinsurgency mission leading to the Kandahar quagmire.

Yesterday in the U.S. Karzai was more blunt when he stated, “You do not destroy terrorism by bombing villages”.

President Karzai gave more balanced emphasis to reconstruction, economic development and building civil society than does our government.

This government needs to understand the reality for too many women in Afghanistan: rape, abuse, neglect, poverty, disease, despair, and widowhood.

Canada must support courageous Afghani women who struggle day in and day out against sexism, brutality and intimidation at the hands of the northern alliance, the warlords, the drug lords as well as the Taliban, all of whom are represented in the Afghani government.

The Canadian government spends $9 on military counterinsurgency--

AfghanistanStatements by Members

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Davenport.

Domestic WorkersStatements by Members

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Mario Silva Liberal Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, today across the world stories of domestic worker abuse must be acknowledged, the victims of which are often women and children. As with all human rights violations, we must stand firmly for the protection of the innocent.

We know that the weaker elements of our society often find themselves abused and oppressed. In this case, many are beaten, abused, held captive and enslaved.

Human Rights Watch reports that this abuse occurs across the globe in many nations. Sadly, these cases are often hidden by the fact that these victims are trapped in seemingly respectable homes.

Today, I call on Canada, as a leader in human rights advocacy, to stand in solidarity with these tortured souls. We have a responsibility to keep them from being swept under the rug.

World Carfree DayStatements by Members

11:15 a.m.

Bloc

Marcel Lussier Bloc Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to join with all of the participants who, like me, respected world carfree day today. Many people in Quebec, Canada and around the world—1,500 municipalities in all—took part in this environmental act.

On foot, by bicycle and by bus, many of us arrived on the Hill this morning without our cars. Those who drive hybrid cars have already earned greenhouse gas credits this year. To everyone else who claims to support Kyoto, I challenge you to practice what you preach.

All members of this House should resolve today to reduce their yearly gas consumption by about a third in any way they can, such as carpooling, or using a bicycle or public transit. We must all choose our own method of reducing greenhouse gases. It is our choice.

Maher ArarStatements by Members

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Liberal Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, the principal finding of the O'Connor commission determined that Maher Arar was an innocent person and indeed the innocent victim of American, Syrian and Canadian officials. This now warrants the following actions:

First, that the Canadian government apologize to Maher Arar and his family.

Second, that the government compensate Maher Arar for the ordeal of pain and suffering that he and his family endured.

Third, that the government object to the American government for its breach of domestic and international undertakings in the confinement and rendition of Maher Arar to Syria.

Fourth, that we protest to the Syrian government for its torture of Maher Arar.

Fifth, that Canadians officials who gave false and misleading information to U.S. authorities be held accountable.

Sixth, that the Canadian government implements all the recommendations of the O'Connor Commission.

Finally, that the lesson of this inquiry be factored into our anti-terrorism law and policy that we always comport with the rule of law while protecting our human security.

Liberal Party of CanadaStatements by Members

11:15 a.m.

Conservative

Diane Ablonczy Conservative Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals must be wanting to force unwilling Canadians into another election. In the last few days they have cranked up their fear and smear campaign. This has long been a Liberal tactic to deflect from their own misdeeds and lack of substance.

Take for example a recent rant by the member for Beaches—East York purporting to be outraged about imaginary Conservative slights to women.

The House will be interested to know about a very real and recent Liberal slight to women. It was a “boys only” weekend held by the Liberal leadership candidate supported by the member for Beaches--East York. That is right, women were excluded from this event.

Before Canadians listen to trumped up claims about this government, they might want to look at the credibility of Liberal smearmongerers.

Canada's new government is moving sensibly to provide all Canadians, including women, with a better country and a quality way of life. Women can be proud to be part of this positive change for Canada.

Member for Charlesbourg--Haute-Saint-CharlesOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, diversity, tolerance, accommodation of differences, and the will to live together in peace and respect, these Canadian values are ones that President Karzai wants to engender in Afghanistan.

However, they have been contradicted right here in Canada by a member of the Prime Minister's caucus. The Conservative MP for Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles has expressed beliefs that are clearly racist and intolerant. These insults demand the Prime Minister's strong, personal intervention.

When will he expel this member from Canada's new Conservative government?

Member for Charlesbourg--Haute-Saint-CharlesOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I can report that the member for Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles has recognized that those comments were inappropriate which is precisely why he has retracted the comments unequivocally and apologized. That is the appropriate action for a member to take when he realizes that he has made inappropriate remarks as is clearly the case in this instance.

Member for Charlesbourg--Haute-Saint-CharlesOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, this situation does not need pontification. It needs rectification. We do not need to hear any more blather from the parliamentary secretary from Alberta.

We need to hear specifically from the Prime Minister's senior minister from Quebec, the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities. He is equally authorized to answer questions in the House.

Is he not scandalized by his Conservative recruit from Charlesbourg? Has he not asked the Prime Minister to remove that member both from the Conservative caucus and the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights?

Member for Charlesbourg--Haute-Saint-CharlesOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I have in my briefing binder here a long list of remarks made by Liberal MPs that I find offensive. In some instances they apologized for them. If the members opposite would like, I will start quoting those remarks.

However, I think we should set a new tone in this place and accept that when a member makes a mistake and apologizes, and retracts, that it is sufficient. That is what the member has done. He has been big enough to apologize.

I would like to see the opposition House leader be big enough to accept the apology.

Member for Charlesbourg--Haute-Saint-CharlesOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, to state that immigrants are responsible for shooting rampages because they are not well-integrated is unacceptable; there is nothing worse than that. That is what we witnessed on TVA last night. These are unacceptable and insulting remarks and intolerant, too. The member for Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles applied logic like Jan Wong's to explain the shootings in Quebec, most recently the tragic Dawson College incident. Ms. Wong's new disciple is now placing the blame on Quebec's immigrants.

The Prime Minister had stated, and rightfully so, that Ms. Wong's comments were absurd and irresponsible. What is the Prime Minister waiting for to dismiss the “pro-Wong” member?

Member for Charlesbourg--Haute-Saint-CharlesOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the member for Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles has already apologized but I find it surprising that the member for Bourassa is raising this issue as he has often got himself into trouble with his harebrained statements. For example, when talking about immigrants he once stated that sometimes he felt like restoring the deportation act and sending back to their country those who spit on the Canadian flag.

Member for Charlesbourg--Haute-Saint-CharlesOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have another question for the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and member for Bedrock. The Prime Minister has asked the “pro-Wong” member fromCharlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charlesto represent his government on the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.

Given that the Prime Minister refuses to strip him of his office, can the government confirm that the comments of the “pro-Wong” member from Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles represent the government's policy on the rights of immigrants living in Quebec? Why on earth has the Prime Minister not removed this member from the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights?